Photo via Unsplash by Josh Edgoose
This June, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) came under fire for releasing a proposal which details that they will implement Section 214 of the Community Development Act of 1980.
Section 214 states that the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development is forbidden from supplying any financial aid to anyone other than United States citizens and certain noncitizens. Noncitizens will then have to provide proof of citizenship or valid immigration status. The recent proposal seeks to get rid of a loophole which states that noncitizens can qualify for public housing.
The proposal applies to the Section 8 Rental Voucher Program, the most utilized of the three most popular public housing options, as well as the Section 8 Rental Certificate Program, Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program, and Public and Indian Housing Programs.
In order to gain housing access, an individual will now have to prove immigration or citizenship status by presenting the following proof of citizenship:
Resident Alien Card
Temporary Resident Card
Employment Authorization Card
Alien registration receipt card
Aside from possibly evicting 32,000 households, HUD estimates that approximately 55,000 children will become homeless as a result of this proposal.
The Trump administration claims that the primary goal of this proposal is to take care of American citizens first. In a hearing with House Democrats, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said, “It seems only logical that tax-paying American citizens should be taken care of first.”
The proposal is one of many motions that the Trump administration has made that will negatively impact not only undocumented immigrants, but also American citizens. For example, if an undocumented individual is the head of the household on previously stated paperwork, there is now the risk of being evicted even if he or she has children who were born in America and have American citizenship. Thus, this is leading to an end of mixed-status households.
The HUD also cited long waitlists as a reason to evict undocmented immigrants. A study from the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC) recently found that amongst those who require housing assistance, approximately 13.7 million people receive the help they need.
However, 29.7 million more people could benefit from public housing if HUD expanded to serve those who need it. This figure includes 961,000 veterans, 9.5 million children, 3.5 million elderly people, and 4.7 million individuals with disabilities.
National Low Income Housing Coalition CEO Diane Yentel described in a recent statement the cruelty of the proposal, calling it “breathtaking.”
“Tens of thousands of deeply poor kids, mostly US citizens, could be evicted and made homeless by this proposal and—-by HUD’s own admission—-there would be zero benefit to families on waiting lists,” said Yentel said..
The recent proposal by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development does not seek to help American citizens gain access to affordable, safe housing. Rather, it is another attack on undocumented immigrants in the United States masquerading as housing reform, which then inevitably ends up harming vulnerable American citizens. The proposal is simply one example of many in which the Trump administration seeks to punish undocumented immigrants instead of providing Americans with safe and affordable places to live.
Zaira Khan is a junior at Mercer University where she is pursuing a double major in public health and sociology. She enjoys exploring the world around her and hopes to contribute to a more honest, thought-provoking world.