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USDA Mixed Status Rule Clears OIRA

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cleared USDA’s proposed rule that prohibits mixed-immigration status families from living in federally subsidized housing. The proposed rule, “Implementation of the Multi-Family Housing U.S. Citizenship Requirements,” has been under OIRA review since April 2.

USDA’s anti-immigrant proposal will likely prohibit mixed-immigration status families from receiving housing assistance from some Rural Housing Services programs covered by Section 214 of the Housing and Community Development act of 1980. This includes the Rural Development (RD) Voucher program and rental assistance for the Section 515 and Section 514/516 programs. The proposed RHS rule could lead to families splitting up, forgoing assistance, or being evicted from their homes.

Currently, under section 214, undocumented immigrants cannot receive federal housing assistance, but families of mixed-immigration status can live in subsidized housing if at least one member of the household is eligible to receive assistance. U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, refugees and asylum seekers are eligible to receive housing assistance. Residents who declare themselves ineligible are not required to reveal their immigration status. When a family of mixed-immigration status receives housing assistance, the family’s subsidy is prorated to account for only legally eligible residents.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused significant economic, health, and housing insecurity for families across the United States, and many have been able to receive critical relief from the CARES Act. However, mixed-immigration status families were excluded from many of the CARES Act’s vital supports (see FAQ on “Eligibility For Assistance based on Immigration Status).

Previously, HUD’s proposed rule on mixed-immigration status (see Memo, 05/13) received 30,000 comments with an overwhelming number of individuals, organizations, and elected officials, opposing it. NLIHC and the National Housing Law Project have been leading the effort to oppose both the HUD and the USDA proposed rules as part of the Keep Families Together campaign, and will continue to mobilize individuals and organizations urging them to submit comments in opposition to the USDA’s anti-immigrant proposed rule when it becomes available.

For more information about the proposed rules, the latest news, and to be informed when the public comment period for the USDA proposed rule is open, please visit: www.keep-families-together.org

A summary of USDA’s current proposal, “Implementation of the Multi-Family Housing U.S. Citizenship Requirements,” is in its Spring Regulatory Agenda at: https://bit.ly/3jZ2FbC