A federal court of appeals ruling Wednesday revived a 2016 lawsuit by a group of undocumented immigrants that seeks to block a Northern Virginia mobile home park from evicting tenants who lack Social Security numbers.
In the original case, eight undocumented immigrant residents of the Waples Mobile Home Park in Fairfax County argued that the eviction policy by their landlord — A.J. Dwoskin & Associates — violates the federal Fair Housing Act because it has a disparate effect on Latino tenants.
Last year, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis in Alexandria dismissed the case, ruling that the residents didn’t have enough proof to even merit consideration that such discrimination took place.
In a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit disagreed, citing statistics provided by the tenants’ lawyers that show a high proportion of undocumented immigrants in Virginia are Latino.
The fact that the tenants at Waples are also mostly Latino makes them more likely to be affected by the eviction policy, the court of appeals found. The ruling remanded the case back to Ellis’s court, where the Legal Aid Justice Center and other attorneys representing tenants want a jury to determine whether the Waples policy was intended to force out Latino tenants.
Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, director of immigrant advocacy for the Legal Aid center, said his organization hopes to force A.J. Dwoskin & Associates to dump its eviction policy and take back undocumented immigrants who left the mobile home park after they were unable to furnish Social Security numbers.
“They all liked living there; they’d been living there for many, many years,” Sandoval-Moshenberg said.
Albert Dwoskin, chief executive of A.J. Dwoskin & Associates, did not return a message for comment.