Overcrowded housing plays role in US immigration debate

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The issue of overcrowded housing in some US towns is playing a large role in the debate on U.S. immigration.

The overcrowding problem has become an issue as these towns try to prevent landlords from permitting many unrelated people to occupy single-family homes.

Local officials in New York, Virginia, Massachusetts and Georgia have evicted residents, threatened landlords with fines or jail time or legally narrowed the definition of family to combat a problem they say disrupts neighborhoods, reports USA Today.

But these measures are seen by some activists as being targeted against immigrants, particularly Hispanics, who often need to share a home to afford the rent, says the report.

The dispute has arisen at a time when states and Congress debate on whether to impose new restrictions on those who entered the country illegally.