Prove you’re a citizen — or get out.
A letter from a Queens landlord to tenants of a Corona building raises the threat of eviction to anyone who can’t show they’re in the U.S. legally.
The notice, sent to residents of all 23 apartments at the corner of 42nd Ave. and Junction Blvd. last week, demands each leaseholder appear at the building’s management office with photo ID, Social Security card, “proof of your status in US (Green card or Passport)” and proof of employment.
“P.S If you fail to comply, your lease will not be renewed, we may have to terminate your lease and may have to evict you from the apartment,” the notice from “New Management” reads.
Enter the Daily News.
The News began asking questions about the letter, and the landlord, Jaideep Reddy, apologized.
“That’s wrong,” he said of the letter obtained by The News. “I’ll retract that. I’m sorry.”
The clock is ticking.
State Sen. Jose Peralta said he planned to file a complaint with state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office Monday about the letter. He said it represented a violation of the city’s Human Rights Law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of immigration status.
“It was very shocking and appalling,” Peralta (D-Queens) said.
“Why would a management company want to know that when all they need to know is that you are the person on the lease?”
Residents of the four-story building in the predominantly Latino neighborhood are asking the same question — and fearing their apartments are in jeopardy.
“People here don’t like it,” said Kenya Messina, 38, who has lived in the building for two years.
“This is completely illegal. People are feeling very sad. Some people are intimidated.”
Reddy lives in an opulent home in Glen Head, L.I., worth $2.7 million, according to the real estate website Zillow. He said the letter was the result of more than a year of frustration trying to gain access to apartments to make electrical repairs following a fire.
“Each apartment has 12 people in there! Is that safe? I don’t think it’s safe,” Reddy said. “Half the tenants won’t let the electrician into their apartment.”
He added that the electrician had drafted the letter.
“That was stupid on his part,” Reddy said.
Eddie Peralta, the electrician who moved to the U.S. from Colombia in 1983, said his secretary wrote the letter — before ranting about undocumented immigrants.
“What Donald Trump is doing is right. People need to become legal!” he yelled. “Look what we do for all these illegal aliens, and what do they do? They commit homicides. They go raping people.”
Worried tenants told The News they’d heard the letter was Reddy’s way to “clean house” after buying the building three years ago.
Blanca Lima, 44, said she had all her papers to prove she was in the U.S. legally — but refused to share them with management in solidarity with her undocumented neighbors.
“Why are they asking for papers? For me it’s not good because a lot of neighbors don’t have anything. I’m with them,” said Lima, a Guatemalan mother of two who has lived in the building for 26 years.
“A lot of people don’t want to talk. I think they’re scared. I don’t like the letter.”
Not everyone in the building was outraged.
Miledys Fermin approved of the notice, which she hoped would make the building safer.
The longtime resident said dozens of people come and go who don’t live there. She said she was concerned that gang members lived in the building — and had called the NYPD about her fears.
“I’m worried. … They’re inside drinking, doing drugs, marijuana,” Fermin, 62, said. “Now with new management, I’m hopeful.”
Reddy had similar complaints. Drug use was rampant in the hallways, he said.
“I’m not a slumlord,” he said.
An NYPD spokesman confirmed five complaints about trespassing or marijuana-related offenses at the building.
The letter comes amid an intense immigration crackdown by the Trump administration across the country. In New York City, arrests by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents of immigrants without criminal histories more than doubled between Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, and April 29 compared with the corresponding period last year, rising to 156 from 77.
Just last week, the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan, told a House subcommittee that undocumented immigrants “need to be worried.”
“If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable,” Homan said.