As President Obama moves through his final months in office, with dwindling time to check off items on his “To Do” list to fulfill his promise to “fundamentally transform America,” he has now taken aim at the safety and security of American neighborhoods by threatening to create rules requiring landlords to rent to convicted criminals or face federal charges of racial discrimination.

Landlords who violate the Fair Housing Act can be hit with civil fines amounting to thousands or millions of dollars, and although the Act does not name convicted criminals as a protected class, as it does with racial and ethnic minorities or the handicapped, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says the disproportionate numbers of minorities among those who have been convicted of a crime means that refusing to rent to a criminal is racial discrimination.

Nearly 25 percent of Americans have a criminal record, whether misdemeanor, felony or even an arrest that did not lead to the filing of criminal charges.

Minority groups, however, represent a higher percentage within that number, with blacks representing 36 percent of the prison population although they only make up around 12 percent of the general population; Hispanics also comprise a disproportionate portion of those with criminal records.

Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development blames this on the American criminal justice system and concludes that “restrictions on access to housing are likely disproportionately to burden African-Americans and Hispanics,” but the new policy would apply to all convicted criminals, regardless of race or ethnicity.


HUD regulations still allows landlords to refuse to rent to persons with convictions for the manufacture or distribution of drugs.

The result of the new Obama administration policy requiring the integration of criminals into communities will be that people who have obeyed the law will now be forced to live next door to those who chose to break it.



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