LOS ANGELES (CN) – Housing and immigration advocates blasted a proposed housing policy from the federal government Wednesday that would evict families with mixed immigration status from public or subsidized housing.
If approved, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s policy could force about 25,000 mixed-status families throughout the United States from their homes, leaving low-income immigrant families homeless. Many children of immigrants – themselves U.S. citizens – would be affected by the proposal, which HUD published in May and is accepting public comments for until July 7.
The policy is the latest in what critics of the Trump administration see as a cruel and racist attack against minorities. Last month, HUD announced plans to roll back protections for homeless transgender people by allowing the federal government to deny services for religious reasons.
On Wednesday, Los Angeles civic leaders and civil rights advocates denounced the latest policy, which could result in the evictions of some 11,000 people in the greater Los Angeles area. The LA City Council formally opposed the rule change last month and asked residents to put their comments to HUD on the record.
Ana Hernandez, housing advocate from Union de Vecinos, said there is fear and anxiety within the immigrant community living in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, most recently with President Donald Trump’s threat of deportation raids and now the proposed housing rule change.
“Our mixed-status families are feeling negatively impacted,” Hernandez said in Spanish. “This community only has one option: to stand and fight for their housing.”
Brendan Busse of the faith-based organization LA Voice said everyone is affected by hate-filled and discriminatory policies.
“We recognize to put one person out of their home is to disrupt and displace everyone,” Busse said.
Peter Lynn, executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, said the proposed rule change has nothing to do with immigration status but everything to do with white supremacy.
“This rule change represents a departure from many former federal administrations – conservative, centrist, liberal – that have held the idea that citizen children can be housed in federal housing even if they’re a member of a household with mixed immigrant status,” said Lynn. “This program is focused on terrorizing American households and those of immigrant status and undocumented status.”
Housing advocates say the rule change will exacerbate the crisis of homelessness in California and other states with significant immigrant communities. Concerned citizens are encouraged to comment on the proposed rule change at https://www.keep-families-together.org/.
While HUD declined a request for an interview, a spokesperson sent a factsheet on the rule change. The agency says the change will trim waitlists for subsidized housing, improve the vetting processes for U.S. citizens and close a legal loophole that allows people to live in subsidized or public housing without having their immigration status checked.
In a statement, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, “There is an affordable housing crisis in this country, and we need to make certain our scarce public resources help those who are legally entitled to it. Given the overwhelming demand for our programs, fairness requires that we devote ourselves to legal residents who have been waiting, some for many years, for access to affordable housing.”