The Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a new rule to Congress on Wednesday which would cut off federal housing assistance to undocumented immigrants, furthering the mission of President Donald Trump’s white nationalist senior adviser Stephen Miller to characterize poor immigrants as a “public charge” burdening the country. How dare they need a place to sleep at night!
The proposal, the New York Times reported, would eliminate a Clinton-era housing assistance policy that allowed some undocumented immigrants to get public housing without disclosing their citizenship status, thereby assuring that only Americans and legal residents have access to such help. A Trump administration official claimed that the proposal aims to address long waiting lists for public housing and would affect about 25,000 households. (One other way to address those long waiting lists might be to not request a 16 percent cut to HUD’s discretionary funding, as the Trump administration asked for in its budget proposal.)
Under the rule, HUD would use the Department of Homeland Security’s Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) Program to verify a person’s immigration and citizenship status to assess their eligibility for housing assistance. The Times reports that it’s unclear whether the department will also go after undocumented immigrants living in public housing with an American spouse or family member.
The rule has a 15-day review period, followed by 6o days for public comment. If the rule is to go into effect, undocumented immigrants in public housing would have 18 months, through three six-month waivers, to move out.
All of this tracks with the White House’s ongoing efforts, spearheaded by Miller, to starve undocumented people of public benefits. This move was but a matter of time, and it will surely only get more severe from here.