New York leaders rail against HUD proposal to cut housing assistance for mixed-status immigrant families

Residents of public housing could be evicted if a family member is undocumented , according to a proposed federal rule change.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and state Attorney General Letitia James are aligned in opposition to a new rule proposal by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that would ban mixed immigration status households from receiving federal housing assistance.

The rule would deny eligible U.S. citizens and eligible non-citizens from their right to access affordable and public housing resources, including Section 8 vouchers, that would have an immediate effects for nearly 11,400 New York City residents, including nearly 5,000 children, according to the de Blasio administration.

“The Trump administration wants to make kids homeless and call it immigration policy,” de Blasio said. “This proposed rule would hurt some of the most vulnerable members of our community, and we’ll fight it every step of the way.”

The White House and HUD Secretary Ben Carson said the proposal would open resources to eligible recipients while shortening waitlists for Section 8 vouchers and public housing. Cuomo announced a “robust multi-agency response” to the HUD proposal saying it would have devastating consequences on children who are U.S. citizens and are otherwise eligible for support.

“The federal government’s proposed policy change is needlessly cruel and will cause undue harm to our most vulnerable residents, including seniors, veterans, children, people with disabilities and survivors of domestic abuse,” Cuomo said. “In New York, we know that our diversity is our greatest asset, and we will not stand idly by as Wahington continues its all-out assault on our immigrant communities.”

For more than 30 years, laws governing public housing and HUD rules have prioritized family unity and the preservation of the family unit, but the new proposal would prohibit family members who are undocumented from resident in their homes. James explained that in many cases, the eligible family members are children, and these minors would not be able to live without their parents, resulting in the effective eviction of entire families.

“If this rule is enacted, the Trump administration will once again be tearing families apart, and this time, it won’t be at the border, but in our communities,” James said. “Threatening to evict tens of thousands of children from their homes and put them on the streets is despicable and reverses decades of standard, well-reasoned federal policy. We will not sit idly by as this administration continues to launch these discriminatory attacks against immigrants and penalize those states that welcome them.”

James is leading a coalition of 23 states opposing the new rule saying it could leave more than 50,000 children homeless across the country. States will have to bear significant administrative and social benefit costs if the rule goes into effect.

Private housing providers would be far less likely to participate in subsidized housing programs, leaving states to find additional affordable housing options and to plan for increased rates of evictions and homelessness, James warned.

“This proposed rule change isn’t about fairness or reining is scarce public resources,” city Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Louise Carroll said. “It’s about weaponizing immigration status and pushing 25,000 mixed-status families across the country out of their homes.”

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