The city of Escondido, California, has passed a law banning local landlords from renting properties to illegal immigrants.
The city is the latest of several from California to Pennsylvania which have passed laws in recent months to deny access to housing or jobs to illegal immigrants in their communities.
Lawmakers in Escondido, which lies about 50 miles north of the Mexican border near San Diego, passed the measure by a 3-2 vote following a heated debate that was interrupted by shouts, chants and catcalls.
Police officers removed two men from the council chamber after an argument erupted, while outside city hall dozens of police and sheriff's department officers separated boisterous supporters and opponents of the law. There were no arrests.
The law is set to come into effect in 30 days in the community of 140,000 residents, where more than a third of the population is Hispanic.
"It's a historic day for Escondido. We are very proud to be leading our city and our country in defending the nation," said councilman Sam Abed to cheers from supporters in the council chamber moments before the vote.
Opponents of the measure told the packed meeting that it would divide residents along racial lines in the city, which is set in a corridor of prosperous commuter towns close to San Diego.
"This ordinance is going to have neighbor against neighbor … that's not what this country is about, and that's not what this community is about," said Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler, who voted against the measure.
The ordinance requires landlords to hand over documentation on their tenants' immigration status to city authorities and evict illegal immigrant tenants or face penalties including suspension of their business licenses and fines.
I'm quite sure that there will be legal challenges to this. But it is another sign that citizens in this country are fed up with Federal inaction on this issue.