Gillibrand moves to block HUD’s immigrant rule

June 20, 2019
In The News

Presidential contender Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation to block the Department of Housing and Urban Development from implementing a rule barring undocumented immigrants from subsidized housing.

“This proposed HUD rule is another example of the Trump administration’s clear and relentless attacks against immigrant families across this country,” Gillibrand said in a statement to POLITICO.

“Undocumented immigrants are already ineligible from receiving federal housing assistance,” she added. “However, this new rule would punish their entire families and would deliberately put tens of thousands of individuals, including children, at risk of eviction, homelessness, or family separation.”

Unlawful residents are prohibited from receiving financial assistance under a law enacted in 1980. Under current rules, though, a mixed-status family can receive pro-rated housing aid as long as one member of the family is a citizen or legal resident.

The Trump administration says the rule would eliminate that regulatory “loophole” while trimming housing waitlists for American citizens. About 25,000 families now living in federally subsidized housing have an ineligible member, according to HUD.

“How do you pro-rate a roof over someone’s head?” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a congressional hearing last month.

“It’s not that we’re cruel, mean-hearted — it’s that we are logical,” he said. “This is common sense: You take care of your own first.”

The proposed rule would displace more than 55,000 children who are U.S. citizens or legal residents, according to a HUD staff analysis.

“HUD should be doing everything in its power to end homelessness, but this rule would do the opposite,” Gillibrand said. “It’s Congress’s responsibility to step in and protect vulnerable families, and I urge my colleagues to support my legislation and prevent this HUD proposal from being implemented.”

Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-Texas) has introduced a similar bill in the House.