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SPLC urges HUD to drop plan that would cut housing assistance for ‘mixed-status’ immigrant families

The SPLC urged the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today to withdraw a proposal that would eliminate housing assistance for low-income families that include both documented and undocumented immigrants. 

The proposed rule would force more than 100,000 people – mainly U.S. citizens or individuals with eligible immigration status – to make the impossible choice between splitting up their families or falling into housing insecurity and potential homelessness, the SPLC wrote in a letter addressed to HUD’s Office of the General Counsel.

“HUD’s proposed rule change is a radical and cruel departure from the agency’s longstanding policy, and its implementation would be contrary to Congress’s express intent to keep families together,” the letter states. “The effects of this proposed rule, if enacted, will be particularly devastating for children, immigrant populations, and other vulnerable or exploited populations that the SPLC works to protect.”

Since 1995, HUD has provided financial housing assistance to low-income families that include U.S. citizens, individuals with eligible immigrant status, and individuals who do not have eligible immigrant status – also known as “mixed-status families.”

Currently, HUD subsidizes the housing of only the documented members of mixed-status families, but undocumented family members may also reside with them. The new proposal, however, would cut all housing assistance to mixed-status families.

The proposal would not only harm immigrant families, but would also increase the financial burden on taxpayers, the letter states. Because only non-mixed-status families would be eligible – and they receive more assistance than mixed ones – HUD would spend $2,100 more per person each year to replace mixed-status families with non-mixed-status families.

What’s more, HUD would spend up to $4.4 million in mass eviction costs if the proposal were implemented, and states and cities – through their taxpayers – would assume responsibility for increases in homelessness and poverty, the SPLC argues.

Not only would the rule create enormous hardships for mixed-status families by forcing them to either lose housing or split up their families, but it would also harm countless U.S. citizen children and families, the elderly and communities of color. The Latinx community would suffer the most, according to the letter.

The proposed rule is “only the latest in a slew of executive branch actions that represent a brazen and cruel attack on immigrant families and those living in poverty,” the letter states. “The proposed rule will harm hundreds of thousands of individuals­ – including U.S. citizen children and family members, and the aging U.S. citizen population – by separating families, increasing families’ financial burdens, and causing housing insecurity and homelessness.”

Photo by B Christopher/Alamy Stock Photo