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

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.”

“The administration’s proposal would break up families and cause thousands of citizens and eligible immigrants to lose their homes,” said Center on Budget and Policy Priorities President Robert Greenstein. “Contrary to the administration’s rhetoric, it wouldn’t free up resources to provide housing assistance to more Americans or reduce spending on housing assistance.”

“Many of our clients and low-income mixed immigration status families’ lives depend on public housing and Section 8 programs,” said Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society Attorney-in-Charge Judith Goldiner. “This cruel and inhumane proposed rule will put entire families, including US citizen children, on the street, and exacerbate the housing and homeless crisis in New York and across the country.” 

"Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc. (CAB) boldly stands with immigrant families to support continued housing services through HUD regardless of immigration status,” said Community Action Board of Santa Cruz County, Inc. Executive Director MariaElena De La Garza. “CAB adamantly opposes any restriction on family housing based on immigration status, specifically the proposed HUD rule prohibiting “mixed status families” from living in public and other subsidized housing.  CAB acknowledges the trauma currently experienced by our community, our families and our children due to continued attacks on their stability and wellbeing.”

“Any policy that makes it harder for public housing authorities to serve their communities is antithetical to the mission of the federal public housing program,” said Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) Executive Director Sunia Zaterman. “CLPHA is strongly opposed to HUD’s proposal, which would impact well over 10,000 mixed-immigration status families currently served by one PHA, plus tens of thousands more around the country, making them more vulnerable to housing instability and homelessness.” 

“HUD’s proposed rule will result in the destabilization and separation of numerous mixed status immigrant families nationwide, including many with children who are U.S. citizens," said Empire Justice Center Senior Paralegal Cheryl Keshner. "Disqualifying families from affordable housing will only result in an increase in homelessness, poverty and suffering in our communities. We call on HUD Secretary Ben Carson to withdraw this ill-conceived and discriminatory proposal.”

“This proposed rule would threaten the stability of American citizens and their family members,” said Enterprise Community Partners Senior Vice President for Public Policy Marion McFadden. “HUD should not be in the business of furthering homelessness. We join our partners in opposing the proposed changes and urge the administration to focus on efficient and equitable ways to serve low-income communities.”

“The proposed HUD rule is cruel and continues the Trump administration’s attack on immigrant communities,” said Equity and Inclusion, Community Catalyst Director of Diversity Dara Taylor. “It would threaten the stability of immigrant families –jeopardizing their health and wellbeing. As health care advocates, we know that safe, affordable and stable housing is crucial to keeping families healthy. This rule, if enacted, will lead to long-term impacts on our nation’s health and wellbeing.”

“Funders Together to End Homelessness strongly opposes the new proposed HUD rule on restricting assistance to immigrants in public housing,” said Funders Together to End Homelessness CEO Amanda Andere. “This proposal puts families and children at risk of experiencing homelessness and undermines the value of housing as a human right. Philanthropy firmly believes in upholding this value and is committed to investing in solutions that build up and strengthen the communities that are home to immigrant families”

“By forcing mixed-immigration-status families in publicly-financed housing to either expel their undocumented family members or leave altogether, the proposed HUD rule change risks separating large numbers of frail seniors and people with disabilities from their in-family caregivers,” said Gray Panthers of San Francisco Co-Convener Michael Lyon.

"Stable housing is a fundamental building block for family and community health,” said Human Impact Partners Senior Public Health Organizer Sari Bilick. “Ripping families away from stable housing, or tearing families apart have severe and deadly public health outcomes for families and for our society. We cannot have healthy, thriving communities when we are ripping away the very foundations of health for some of our community members."

"The proposed HUD rule will needlessly impact immigrant families who contribute economically to our economy, pay taxes, and are trying to improve the lives of their families," said National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders Executive Director Noel Poyo.

“The HUD proposed rule to remove undocumented immigrants and, at worst, their entire families from subsidized housing is an unfunded mandate on local housing providers and will result in families being evicted,” said National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials CEO Adrianne Todman. “This is a solution in search of a problem, since housing authorities already do not provide any subsidies to ineligible family members. This rule will force housing authorities to divert extremely limited resources from providing shelter to children, seniors, veterans, and families to an unnecessary administrative process, and will result in fewer eligible families receiving assistance.”

“Access to housing is critical to maintaining health and stability,” said National Health Care for the Homeless Council CEO G. Robert Watts. “Without a stable home, it is difficult for to rest and recuperate from surgery, illness, and other ailments. This proposal serves not only as an unconscionable punishment for hardworking families but will likely lead to increased homelessness and poor health outcomes for individuals, children, and families.”

“The National Housing Trust strongly opposes the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed rule that would require owners of federally-assisted rental housing to deny housing assistance to undocumented family members,” said National Housing Trust President and CEO Priya Jayachandran. “HUD’s mission is to provide affordable housing opportunities to those in need, not to divide families and evict residents.”

“Through this housing regulation, Trump is building yet another invisible wall to keep everyone but the white and the wealthy out, and he is separating families in the process,” said National Immigration Law Center Economic Justice Policy Analyst Jackie Vimo. “This rule is designed to send immigrant families one message: you have no home here. We will fight back with everything we have to reject this racist, abusive policy and build a country where everyone has a home.”

“HUD appears to be seeking a solution in search of a problem.  It feels mean spirited considering subsidies are prorated in a mixed family household so Federal dollars are not being misspent,” said National Leased Housing Association Executive Director Denise Muha

“This is a blatant attempt by the Trump Administration to pit struggling families against one another in the wake of a $1.9 trillion tax cut for millionaires and corporations,” said National Women’s Law Center Vice President for Income Security and Child Care/Early Learning Melissa Boteach. “Forcing thousands of immigrant families to make the unconscionable decision to either break up to receive housing assistance or forgo housing assistance altogether will not fix the nation’s housing crisis—raising wages and making significant new investments in affordable and accessible housing will.”

“Secretary Carson's directives go against the values and principles of mainstream USA,” said Navigate MN/Unidos MN Emilia Gonzalez Avalos. “Such measure attempt to further marginalize families across the nation, including millions of boys and girls who are US born citizens. We know that strong immigrant communities regardless of status, translate into strong and healthy communities for all. Our immigrant community is part of the solution of the housing crisis we face.”

“Basic morality tells us that throwing families out of their homes is reprehensible, and as a Catholic Sister I know that such actions hurt families, destabilize communities, and must not be allowed,” said NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell. “Once again, the Trump administration is abusing its regulatory power to target vulnerable families for political gain.”

“This rule will have an obvious, foreseeable discriminatory impact on the basis of race and ethnicity – and will punish thousands of low-income families who literally have nowhere else to live,” said Poverty & Race Research Action Council Deputy Director Megan Haberle.

“Amidst the growing housing crisis and other harmful anti-immigrant policies, this proposal would exacerbate health inequity and racial injustice through increasing housing instability among low-income mixed status families - we should instead be promoting policies that support access to high-quality, safe, and affordable housing as a human right,” said Praxis Project Executive Director Xavier Morales.

“PHADA is concerned that HUD is changing the rules by which families have been vetted and admitted into assisted housing, which is inconsistent with a Department that seeks to administer Federal programs in a fair and just manner and is also unnecessary because housing agencies do not provide subsidy to ineligible individuals,” said Public Housing Authorities Directors Association Executive Director Tim Kaiser. “Our members are also concerned about legal issues at the state level, particularly related to evictions and incurring liability for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) actions.”

“The proposed public housing regulations by HUD Secretary Carson are unsubstantiated, uninformed and are another attempt to demonize hard-working immigrants,” said Sant La, Haitian Neighborhood Center, Inc. Executive Director Gepsie M. Metellus. “First, it is already well-established that every public housing unit must be occupied by an eligible citizen or legal permanent resident.  Second, this so-called rule change will do nothing to address the waiting lists. This proposed change is nothing more than a regulation in search of a problem.”

“Housing is a human right,” said Senior and Disability Action San Francisco Executive Director Jessica Lehman. “Seniors and people with disabilities are appalled by this new proposal and the horrible impact it will have on seniors and people with disabilities.”

"At Texas Homeless Network we believe that the limits of human compassion for access to safe housing and shelter should not be dependent on status," said Texas Homeless Network President and CEO Eric Samuels. "Paperwork does not determine a person's worthiness of human rights. Everyone deserves to be safe in the community they reside, even if it's not the community of their birth. Therefore, Texas Homeless Network does not support restricting housing and shelter because of citizenship or a lack of evidence of that distinction." 

“Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda has turned our government into a deportation machine, and now, they are proposing an eviction chute that will leave children to fend for themselves on their own and on the streets,” said The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Senior Counsel Rob Randhava. “Evidently, for this administration, separating migrant children from their parents is not enough. HUD must drop this proposal that will hurt both migrant and U.S. citizen children.”

“The Trump administration continues to hurt immigrants and cities; the current idea would ensure that children who are US citizens wouldn't be living with one of their parents," said The Welcome Project Executive Director Benjamin Echevarria Jr.