AG Racine Leads Coalition Opposing Trump Administration Effort To Deny Critical Housing Assistance To Immigrants And Children

Proposed Rule Would Place Onerous Requirements on 58,000 District Residents to Verify Immigration Status

WASHINGTON, D. C.Attorney General Karl A. Racine and New York Attorney Generals Letitia James today co-led a coalition of 23 states opposing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed rule that would deny housing assistance to anyone—including lawful residents—whose household includes an undocumented immigrant. The Trump administration’s proposal would require every resident in a household receiving housing assistance to submit verification of their immigration status and could result in the eviction of thousands of families nationwide, including many children and lawful residents and citizens, who rely on housing assistance for their homes. If finalized, the proposed rule will harm the States, their residents, their local economies, and the public health.

“This is yet another cruel and transparent attempt by the Trump administration to scare our immigrant community from using public benefits to which they are entitled under long-standing law and practice,” said AG Racine. “Our nation and the District of Columbia has benefited immensely from the contribution of immigrants. This unjustified policy threatens our most vulnerable families with eviction and separation and runs counter to our county’s most enduring principles.”

For more than thirty years, laws governing public housing and HUD rules have prioritized family unity and the preservation of the family unit. Accordingly, the law has for decades allowed families with mixed immigration status to receive public housing subsidies, so long as ineligible family members did not themselves receive any financial subsidies. The new HUD proposal, announced in April 2019, would prohibit family members who are undocumented from residing in their homes with their family members who are eligible for housing assistance. In many cases, the eligible family members are children, and these minors would not be able to live in assisted housing without their parents, who may be undocumented. This would effectively evict entire families. As the Department’s own analysis concludes, the proposed rule would eliminate housing assistance for more than 108,000 people, including at least 55,000 children, many of whom are U.S. citizens or otherwise eligible for housing assistance.

In the comment letter submitted today, the attorneys general argue that this substantial loss of housing benefits will also cause significant economic and social harms to the States, including greater homelessness, reduced productivity, and a higher incidence of significant health problems.

In the District, there are approximately 58,700 residents receiving housing assistance through HUD. Under this proposed rule, each resident would have to submit evidence of their immigration status or risk losing housing assistance for their entire household. This onerous verification process could be especially difficult for vulnerable populations like the elderly and jeopardize their affordable housing.

States will have to bear significant administrative and social benefit costs if the rule goes into effect. Private housing providers will be far less likely to participate in subsidized housing programs, leaving States to find additional affordable housing options and plan for increased rates of evictions and homelessness.

Joining AG Racine and New York Attorney General James in submitting the comment letter are the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.