Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) has blasted the idea of “squatter’s rights,” questioning the laws that allow interlopers on a property to claim ownership over its rightful owner, calling it a case of “just breaking the law.”

Squatter rights laws allow anyone illegally occupying another person’s property to claim ownership if they are not evicted after a certain amount of time. Also known as adverse possession laws, these laws are in effect in all 50 U.S. states but enforcement differs significantly.

In an April 6 interview with The New York Post, Mr. Fetterman said he had extensive experience with these laws while he was mayor of Braddock in Pennsylvania. In some cases, they can come into effect after only 30 days of illegally occupying a building.

“It’s wild that if you go away on a long trip, for 30 days, and someone breaks into your home and suddenly, they have rights,” he said.

“This is crazy. Like if somebody stole your car, and then they held it for 30 days, then somehow you now have some rights?” he added.

According to law experts who have spoken with The Epoch Times, police can’t help because it’s a civil matter. Under these laws, the only way to remove a squatter claiming ownership is through an eviction lawsuit, which can drag on for months or years because housing courts are severely backlogged at the moment.

Squatter’s rights as they exist today can be traced back to the Homestead Act of 1862, which allowed settlers to claim land in the western United States under the agreement they would improve it and live on it for at least five years. Over time, the concept of squatter’s rights have expanded well beyond land claims.

According to Mr. Fetterman, “Squatters have no rights,” and during his time as Mayor, he always tried to “push back against that.”

Another expert speaking to The Epoch Times claimed illegal immigrants could further exacerbate the squatter rights issue, although he noted he had yet to see this transpire.

Border Patrol has encountered more than 7.6 million illegal immigrants trying to cross the border since President Joe Biden took office in January 2021. Many have come seeking asylum and various jurisdictions around the country are struggling to keep up with the influx of people, stretching resources to their limits in some cases, such as in Texas, Arizona, and New York.

Fetterman Says US Needs to Be Smart and Aggressive on Crime

Soft crime policies are being blamed for the fatal shooting of NYPD Detective Jonathan Diller during a traffic stop in Queens last month. According to authorities, Guy Rivera, who was accused of the crime, has at least 21 prior arrests for drug and assault related offenses.

Mr. Fetterman says he has no issue giving second chances to offenders who have made a mistake. But 20 chances is pushing it too far.

“If you have those kinds of established records, it doesn’t serve any greater goal to allow people that are offending, offending, offending and allow them to not be held accountable,” he said.

“If this individual is convicted, then he should spend the rest of his life in prison and never have an opportunity to get out,” he added.

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