VOLS opposes HUD's proposed rule to restrict housing eligibility for immigrant households

July 9, 2019

VOLS - Volunteers of Legal Service today submitted a public comment opposing the adoption a proposed rule* by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that would prohibit any household from receiving federal housing assistance where any member does not have eligible immigration status. 

 

Under the proposed rule, families with a non-immigration eligible household member will have to choose between receiving housing assistance and keeping their family together. VOLS felt compelled to submit our objection not only because of the damage the regulation would cause across our New York City community, but also due to the specific harm it would bring to clients of two VOLS initiatives: the VOLS Elderly and Immigration Projects. 

 

VOLS opposes the adoption of the proposed HUD rule because we believe it will cause grievous harm to families in New York City, resulting in increased homelessness, lost educational opportunities, worsened health conditions, separated families, and other impacts.

 

We believe that HUD has failed to meaningfully take into consideration the detrimental impact this proposal will have on children and families. The proposed regulation ignores the reality that members of a mixed-status household do not live separate lives in different social units. Over five million children in the United States under age 18 live with at least one unauthorized immigrant parent. This regulation would nationally cause 55,000 children and their families to face eviction or separation in order to keep subsidies. Some of the consequences are described below:

 

  • The proposed rule would cause havoc for families with immigrant members who may be in the process of gaining legal status, as they may be harmed by these proposed regulations during the course of of-delayed processing.
  • Undocumented parents with U.S. citizen minor children living in New York City would be unable to receive federal subsidies, and they might face eviction and homelessness.
  • Adult U.S. citizens who provide safe homes for undocumented children would not be eligible for critical federal aid.  
  • The proposed rule would create a new burden for household members over the age of 62, who are currently exempt from a requirement to verify eligible immigration status for every member of the household.

 

The proposed regulation is yet another cruel attack by the Trump Administration on immigrant families, and it ignores the unprecedented long delays and back logs that immigrants are facing at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

Furthermore, the proposed rules will unnecessarily require additional taxpayer money. For example:

  • The proposed rules will serve to exacerbate New York City’s already severe homelessness crisis. By removing families from subsidized housing, and by forcing them into the ranks of the homeless, taxpayers will have to pay millions of dollars for emergency shelters.
  • The rules will also strain the federally-subsidized housing system. HUD asserts that, if the rule is adopted, current mixed-eligibility families would be replaced by completely immigration-eligible households. However, because mixed-eligibility households must contribute personal funds to cover the shelter costs of non-eligible members, their eviction would also drain resources from the overall public housing system.

 

Lastly, the proposed rules may harm many of the 1.9 million older adults who reside in federally subdivided housing. Elderly members who refuse to break their families up may be forced out of subsidized housing, as they are unable to afford the increased cost of housing amidst competing needs such as receiving critical medical care. If forced to become homeless, seniors safety and health will be at higher risk. 

 

Click here to download the full VOLS public comment (PDF).

 

* The public comment by VOLS is in response to 24 CFR Part 5; HUD Docket No. FR-6124- P-01, RIN 2501-AD89, Proposed Rule Making of Housing & Community Development Act of 1980 Verification of Eligible Status

 

Links to prior VOLS Public Comments: