New York calls on HUD to withdraw plan to end housing aid for undocumented immigrants


Members of New York’s congressional delegation, led by Rep. Nydia Velázquez, are calling on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to withdraw its proposed rule that would end housing aid for undocumented immigrants.

Last month, HUD proposed a rule that would make undocumented immigrants ineligible for public housing aid and force them to relocate within 18 months.

The rule proposes the use of the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program, or SAVE program, to verify the citizenship of all members living in a household that receives assistance.

Under HUD’s current rules, families are allowed to live together in subsidized housing even if one family member is ineligible as long the ineligible person declares themselves as such.

The housing subsidy is then prorated to exclude the ineligible person from the assistance.

But HUD’s new rules closes that “loophole.”

HUD officially proposed changed those rules Friday, publishing the text of the rule in the Federal Register.

And a HUD report shows this could impact about 55,000 children, causing them to be evicted from public housing.

Now, New York is calling on HUD to withdraw its proposed rule.

In a letter opposing the proposed rule, New York lawmakers plead the case for the thousands of families that could be made homeless or, in some cases, cause some families of mixed immigration status to separate.

“We believe the proposed rule would fail to advance any meaningful public policy benefit, but it would needlessly inflict hardship on thousands of working families, seniors and others,” Velázquez and several members of the delegation wrote in a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “We ask the agency to withdraw this rule. Under no circumstances, should it be adopted in its current form.”

“The Trump Administration’s policy of separating families at the border has been soundly rejected by the American people as heartless, cruel and inhumane,” the letter said. “Now, it appears Trump’s HUD would separate immigrant families who use affordable housing benefits or even cause thousands of them to become homeless.”

“Not only is this sickeningly cruel, but for an Administration that regularly proposes zeroing out funding for public housing in its annual budget, it is also strikingly hypocritical to suggest we don’t have adequate resources for all those who rely on housing aid,” it continued. “Rather than trying to hurt our immigrant neighbors, HUD should work with Congress to strengthen these programs.”

The administration is accepting public comment on the proposed rule until July 9, 2019.

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