ACLU Opposes Department of Housing and Urban Development Proposed Rule on Mixed-Status Families in Public Housing and Section 8 Programs

July 9, 2019 5:45 pm

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The American Civil Liberties Union filed a public comment strongly opposing the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s proposed rule change on eligibility requirements for federal housing assistance based on immigration status. Under the proposed rule, HUD will ban “mixed-status” families from living in public housing and Section 8 programs when at least one household member is undocumented or otherwise ineligible for housing benefits due to their immigration status—even though assistance is already prorated to exclude ineligible members.

“This proposed rule is astonishingly cruel, and can only be seen as a further effort to drive immigrant families out of the country,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

HUD’s proposed rule will effectively evict tens of thousands of immigrant families in need of assistance, exacerbating a homelessness crisis and stoking fear among immigrant communities. The proposed rule will also require nearly 9 million U.S. citizens and 120,000 elderly immigrants currently receiving assistance to produce proof of citizenship or immigration status, thereby jeopardizing housing for those that face significant barriers to obtaining such documents.

The ACLU’s public comment outlines the following criticisms of the proposed rule, which:

  • Exposes 25,000 families – including 55,000 children who are U.S. citizens or green card holders – to eviction and homelessness;
  • Undermines family stability and potentially causes toxic stress, trauma, and attachment issues for those facing the threat of family separation;
  • Threatens housing security for 9.5 million U.S. citizens or other eligible immigrants, including survivors of domestic violence, who currently receive federal housing assistance by imposing costly and burdensome documentation requirements.

The ACLU, ACLU of California, and other state affiliates are joining the National Housing Law Project, National Low Income Housing Coalition, and other advocates in opposing the proposed rule.

The ACLU’s public comment is online here:

This statement is online here:

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