Secretary Ben Carson to Move Illegal Aliens Out of Public Housing

Press Releases

July 10, 2019

IRLI assists HUD with initiative to protect most vulnerable citizens

WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has filed a detailed letter brief with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in support of HUD’s proposal to close a Clinton-era loophole that allows illegal aliens to live in subsidized public housing. By law, illegal aliens have been ineligible for public housing since the 1980s, but the regulation HUD proposes to abolish allows illegal aliens to live in public housing if they are part of a family in which at least one member – typically, a child born in the U.S. to illegal-alien parents – is regarded as a citizen or legal resident. HUD estimates that at least 25,000 housing units nationwide are occupied by illegal aliens because of this rule. That makes at least 25,000 housing units unavailable to America’s neediest families.

In its analysis, IRLI shows that closing this loophole is not only desirable as a matter of policy, but that it is required by law. IRLI also urges HUD to go further than it has proposed, and enforce laws that deny public housing to lawfully-present aliens for the first five years of their residence. Otherwise, HUD’s proposed regulation can be challenged as “arbitrary” because it gives effect to some statutes but not others.

“There is a severe shortage of public housing in America,” said Michael M. Hethmon, senior counsel of IRLI, who drafted the comment, “and those who do not get it often end up homeless. Federal bureaucrats have literally been sending the neediest American families to live on the streets so that illegal aliens can enjoy this taxpayer-funded benefit.”

“Since the Clinton administration, HUD has been misinterpreting American welfare laws simply because they disagree with those laws and want illegal aliens to live in public housing,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “We applaud Secretary Carson for using his regulatory powers to push back against the anti-borders activists embedded deep inside his own agency, and enforce our housing eligibility laws in the national interest.”

IRLI’s filing was in response to HUD Notice of Proposed Rulemaking “Housing and Community Development Act of 1970: Verification of Eligible Status,” HUD-2019-0044-0001, published at 84 Fed. Reg. 20589 (May 10, 2019).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • [email protected]

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