By Natalie Rogers, junior policy associate
On May 10, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed a rule that would ban families with mixed immigration statuses living in the home from obtaining public housing or housing assistance. Under the rule, these mixed status families would have to split up or be evicted. The impact of proposed changes would affect an estimated 108,000 people, 70% of which are citizens or legal residents, and about one-third, 55,000, of those affected would be children. Effectively, the loss of housing subsidies upon the implementation of the proposed rule would leave 25,000 mixed-status families vulnerable to eviction and homelessness.
HUD Secretary Carson claims this rule change will keep undocumented immigrants from receiving public assistance to allow for more “legitimate Americans” to receive subsidies in their place. However, under current HUD regulations, mixed status families receiving housing subsidies do not get any assistance for the members of their household who are ineligible for assistance based on their immigration status.
Individuals applying for public housing are given the option to disclose if members of their household are eligible or ineligible for public housing without disclosing their immigration status. If a member of the household is ineligible, it does not necessarily mean they are undocumented, and having a legal immigration status does not automatically make one eligible for housing subsidies. This means that no one who is undocumented or does not have the “correct” legal status is actually receiving housing subsidies. The proposed rule would uproot thousands of immigrant families, forcing them into worse living conditions and greater poverty. The rule is cruel, unjustified and has no purpose other than the targeted removal of mixed status families from public housing assistance. Numerous organizations have called on Secretary Carson to roll back the rule change. HUD will accept public comments until July 9.