A new rule proposed this week by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would evict more than 55,000 children of immigrant parents from federally subsidized or public housing units, according to the department’s own analysis of the rule.
Without a clear plan for what would happen to the children after they’re evicted, it is likely they would be rendered homeless, in addition to being separated from their caretakers.
The proposed rule would change the public housing eligibility requirements of undocumented immigrants. Currently, an immigrant family can sign a lease on a public housing unit as long as one family member is in the United States legally, which for undocumented immigrants is usually the child. The proposed rule would require all family members to be in the U.S. legally.
The Washington Post was the first to publish HUD’s analysis of the rule and according to the paper the analysis says approximately 108,000 people living in subsidized housing have an ineligible member. Of those, 76,000 are legally eligible, and 55,000 are children. They are mostly in New York, California, and Texas, according to the Post.
“The cruelty of [HUD] Secretary [Ben] Carson’s proposal is breathtaking, and the harm it would inflict on children, families, and communities is severe,” Diane Yentel, National Low Income Housing Coalition president and CEO, said in a statement. “Tens of thousands of deeply poor kids, mostly U.S. citizens, could be evicted and made homeless by this proposal, and—by HUD’s own admission—there would be zero benefit to families on waiting lists.”
The rule, which was originally announced in April, is part of a broader crackdown on immigration by President Donald Trump and his senior adviser Stephen Miller. Such moves have drawn headlines as immigration officials working on the southern U.S. border have deported asylum-seekers from Latin America, separating children from their parents in the process.
Carson and the White House have argued that the HUD rule would free up resources for legally eligible recipients and shorten waitlists for both public housing and Section 8 housing vouchers, which provide rental assistance.
“Thanks to [Trump’s] leadership, we are putting America’s most vulnerable first,” Carson tweeted in April when the administration announced the rule. “Our nation faces affordable housing challenges and hundreds of thousands of citizens are waiting for many years on waitlists to get housing assistance.”
The rule comes on the heels of numerous Trump administration attempts to cut funding to public housing and rental assistance programs. Each of the administration’s four budget proposals cut entirely the public housing capital fund, which is used to make improvements to public housing units. It’s also tried to cut the public housing operating fund, which is used to field maintenance and day-to-day operations of public housing, by almost 50 percent.
While Congress has yet to pass a 2020 budget, it did not pass any of these cuts in the first three budgets of Trump’s term as president.
“These proposed changes would appear to carry out part of the Trump administration’s agenda of sharply altering our nation’s immigration policies and making life more difficult for immigrants,” Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said in a statement. “The barrage of policies the administration has put forward in this area run counter to our nation’s centuries-long experience—still true today—of immigrants coming to the United States and building a better life for themselves and for future generations while contributing to their communities and the broader society.”