Harris leads California Democrats in condemning HUD immigrant housing policy

Sen. Kamala Harris led a group of 39 California Democrats from both chambers of Congress in writing a letter calling on Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson to withdraw a proposal that would remove thousands of immigrant families from federally subsidized homes.

HUD is weighing a policy that would prohibit federal housing benefits from being granted to any households led by someone living in the country illegally. Current and past policies permitted families with at least one member eligible for HUD programs — even if the head of household wasn’t — to live in federally subsidized housing.

{mosads}“If implemented, the rule would result in the displacement of thousands of families across the country and disproportionately affect millions of California residents,” the California Democrats wrote.

“If the Administration is indeed interested in addressing housing, we urge you to work with Congress to increase funding and resources for housing programs, rather than reduce funding, as was the case in the most recent budget request. The proposed rule targets immigrant communities, causing needless hardship and fear for some of our most vulnerable families.” 

The group cited HUD estimates that 32,000 federally subsidized households and 55,000 children would be impacted by the proposal, possibly leading to the eviction of U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants, as well as other legal permanent residents. 

“Mixed-status families that currently reside in public or subsidized housing would be forced to make an impossible decision between losing their housing assistance and possibly being homeless or forcing family members who cannot prove their eligibility to leave their family home,” it wrote.

“California is proudly home to more than 10 million immigrants, the largest immigrant population in the United States. Nearly five million Californians belong to mixed-status families. The proposed rule and its negative impact stands to disproportionally affects thousands of these California residents.”

Carson defended the policy, telling The Hill Wednesday “it’s the law.”

“The HUD Secretary is prohibited from providing housing assistance to people who are in the country illegally. It further states that if it is discovered that the home owner or the apartment leasee is harboring people who are illegal, the HUD secretary has a duty to remove them,” Carson said, referencing the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980. 

“So if they don’t like that, it’s the law, they need to change that.” 

Harris, who is one of 24 Democrats, including several senators, running for president, has repeatedly hammered the Trump administration over its immigration policies, at one point advocating for the abolishment of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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