HUD published on April 2 in the Federal Register a rule withdrawal, “Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status; Withdrawal,” that will remove the previous administration’s harmful and misguided proposed “mixed-status” rule from HUD’s upcoming Spring 2021 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. The Trump administration’s proposed rule, released on May 10, 2021, would have led to thousands of mixed-status immigrant families that have members who are undocumented or otherwise ineligible for public and other subsidized housing to split up or be evicted, putting them at risk of homelessness. HUD’s withdrawal of that rule puts an end to the proposal, ensuring that these families can still pursue the assistance they are eligible for without fear of being separated or evicted.
The prior administration’s proposed rule would have further restricted eligibility for federal housing assistance based on immigration status by prohibiting mixed-status families from living in Section 214 subsidized homes. The rule would have forced impacted households to choose between separating as a family to keep their subsidy or facing eviction and potentially homelessness. According to HUD’s own analysis, the proposed rule would have resulted in the eviction of 25,000 immigrant families, including 55,000 children eligible for housing assistance. In fact, two-thirds of people in mixed-status families are already U.S. citizens, the majority of them children.
The previous administration claimed the new policy would have addressed the public housing waiting list backlog, but the agency’s own analysis found that the proposed rule would result in fewer families receiving housing assistance. Since mixed-status families do not receive housing assistance for ineligible family members, by prorating the amount of support, taking assistance away from these households entirely would have required HUD to provide full subsidies for additional, non-mixed-status families, costing the government at least $193 million annually. HUD admitted the agency could be forced to reduce the quality and quantity of assisted housing to cover these additional costs.
In response to the proposed rule, NLIHC, the National Housing Law Project (NHLP), and other partners launched the Keep Families Together campaign to mobilize opposition. During the public comment period, individuals and organizations submitted over 30,450 comments; the previous time a HUD proposal garnered significant public attention resulted in just over 1,000 public comments. An NHLP analysis of these comments found that more than 95% of the comments opposed the rule.
HUD will continue to use the guidance under Section 214 of the “Housing and Community Development Act of 1980.” Mixed-status families, those with include members who are eligible and others who are ineligible for housing assistance based on their immigration status, will continue to be permitted to live together in subsidized housing with prorated assistance. U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, refugees, and asylum seekers are eligible to receive housing assistance; just because a household member is an “ineligible” immigrant, they are not necessarily undocumented.
The withdrawal of this extremely harmful proposed rule is a win for fair housing – and human decency.
There have been no updates yet on the USDA mixed-status rule after it was cleared by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) (see Memo, 08/03/2020) but this rule is likely to be withdrawn in accordance with President Biden’s recent executive order’s addressing regulatory issues (see Memo, 01/25) and immigration reform (see Memo, 02/08).
Read HUD’s rule “Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status Withdrawal” at: https://bit.ly/3cGeQs0
Read S.2719, the “Housing and Community Development Act of 1980” at: https://bit.ly/3md7xuZ
For more information about the proposed rules, the latest news and resources, visit: www.keep-families-together.org