Housing, Faith, Civil Rights, Social Justice, and Immigration Leaders Rally to Oppose HUD Rule That Would Separate Families or Evict Them

Friday, May 10, 2019

More than 25 organizations across the country are sending a message to HUD Secretary Carson and President Trump: the mixed-status family proposed rule is cruel and does nothing to alleviate the affordable housing crisis.

Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today published a proposed rule that would prohibit “mixed status families” from living in public and other subsidized housing. Mixed status families are households that include members who are eligible and others who are ineligible for housing assistance based on their immigration status. Currently, HUD allows families to live together in subsidized housing even if one family member is ineligible so long as the housing subsidy is prorated to exclude the ineligible person from the assistance. Importantly, just because a household member is an “ineligible” immigrant, it doesn’t mean that they are undocumented. Immigrants can have legal status and still not be eligible to receive housing assistance. 

Families with members who are deemed ineligible will be evicted from subsidized housing after 18 months or sooner. The proposal would also threaten housing assistance for millions of households that remain eligible for assistance and consist only of U.S. citizens or eligible immigrants. It would require tens of thousands of housing agencies and private property owners to collect documents “proving” the citizenship of more than 9 million assisted residents who have already attested, under penalty of perjury, that they are U.S. citizens, as well as the citizenship of future applicants for assistance. And it would require some 120,000 elderly immigrants to submit documents indicating their status. If individuals are unable to produce these documents in the timeframe permitted, they can lose their housing assistance and, in turn, lose their homes. 

“The cruelty of Secretary Carson’s proposal is breathtaking, and the harm it would inflict on children, families and communities is severe,” said National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Tens of thousands of deeply poor kids, mostly US citizens, could be evicted and made homeless by this proposal, and – by HUD’s own admission – there would be zero benefit to families on waiting lists. This proposal is another in a long line of attempts by the administration to instill fear in immigrants throughout the country. We will not stand for it.”

“HUD’s proposed rule on mixed status families pretends to target undocumented people, but it’s mechanism is actually to punish citizens and eligible noncitizens for having an immigrant family member,” said National Housing Law Project Executive Director Shamus Roller. “This is part of the Trump administration’s attempts to demonize immigrants no matter what harm is caused. In addition to the harm to immigrant families, this rule would increase homelessness, increase costs for HUD, and undermines the decency of our nation.”

“This racist, xenophobic HUD rule is the latest example of the Trump administration’s attack on immigrant families,” said Center for American Progress Senior Policy Analyst Heidi Schultheis. “It will cruelly force them to make an impossible choice: stay in their home or stay together as a family. It will also exacerbate both the eviction crisis and the housing affordability crisis because it will force people out of their homes without creating a single new affordable home.”

“The administration has made clear its intention to make life more difficult for immigrant families by restricting their ability to access basic needs programs. The proposed rule by HUD continues this pattern of attacks – this time by threatening the roof over their heads and directly undermining the wellbeing of citizen children,” said Center for Law and Social Policy and Co-Chair, Protecting Immigrant Families, Advancing Our Future Campaign Executive Director Olivia Golden. “We know what families need to thrive and how crucial housing stability is to children’s healthy development. Contrary to the proposed rule, all children and families must have access to the necessary care, services, and support to remain healthy and productive.”