The Trump administration is proposing a new rule that seeks to prevent illegal immigrants from being granted public housing financial assistance, The Epoch Times has learned. The move would ensure that American citizens are first in line to review housing subsidies.
The proposal from The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) marks the latest effort from the administration to enforce immigration law. HUD has already provided the proposed regulation to Congress for review for a period of 15 days, after which they will publish the proposed amendments to become available for public comment for 60 days.
HUD is prohibited from granting financial assistance to persons other than U.S. citizens, nationals, or specified classes of lawful aliens according to Section 214 of The Housing and Community Development Act of 1980. But the department says that the statute contains a loophole that permits persons to declare themselves “ineligible,” so as to not have their immigration status checked, enabling them to live in the supported housing.
The loophole, HUD says, greatly expands on a provision that was only intended as a temporary measure in the original act because verifying legal presence was more time-consuming.
The department estimates that approximately 32,000 HUD-assisted households are headed by illegal immigrants.
The existing law also requires HUD to terminate assistance if the head of the household (leaseholder) has “knowingly permitted any individual not eligible for assistance to reside the supported housing.” HUD, meanwhile, will clarify the intent of this by requiring citizenship or legal residency for all HUD-assisted leaseholders and heads of household.
By verifying the residency status of all residents, U.S. citizens and the legal residents will be the first in line to receive federal housing assistance. Legal residents include those who have a Green Card, refugees, and asylees. All households will be screened through the SAVE system of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service.
According to HUD only 1 in 4 qualified households is currently receiving housing assistance in the United States. In some states, the waitlists for public housing are closed and local agencies don’t accept any new public housing applicants.
Most who are waiting for HUD assistance are extremely poor seniors or persons living with a disability, if current recipients are representative.
HUD says that their new proposals will help trim the lengthy waitlists. The average time nationally for a person in need to receive housing assistance is 26 months.
On Twitter, HUD secretary Ben Carson noted how widespread the wait times have become.
“Thanks to @realDonaldTrump’s leadership, we are putting America’s most vulnerable first,” he wrote on April 18. “Our nation faces affordable housing challenges and hundreds of thousands of citizens are waiting for many years on waitlists to get housing assistance.”
In Los Angeles, the average wait time for housing assistance is more than four years, under the city’s housing authority. In October 2017, Los Angeles added 20,000 new spaces to its waitlist for Section 8, and 188,000 people applied. Meanwhile, disabled residents in Quincy, Massachusetts, waited more than six years for public housing.