CHAMPAIGN — The Housing Authority of Champaign County is calling on the Trump administration to withdraw a proposed rule that could render homeless thousands of immigrant families currently living in public housing.
The proposed Housing and Urban Development rule published in May would affect “mixed-status” immigrant families, in which some members of the household are eligible for public housing assistance and some aren’t based on their immigration status.
The proposed rule would place many immigrant families in mixed-status households in the position of having to choose between losing their homes or being torn apart, said David Northern, CEO of the county agency.
“Family unity should be considered a fundamental value and component of our immigration system,” he said in a statement Friday.
Specifically, the new rule would call on public housing agencies to collect and verify certain immigration information from tenants and applicants and to evict those families who have any members who are ineligible for public housing assistance.
Not only that, Northern said, the cost burden for going to court to evict those families would be at local housing authorities’ expense.
The HUD rule is pointless, Northern said, because under current rules, HUD permits mixed-status families to live together in subsidized housing as long as subsidies are prorated to exclude the ineligible members. The ineligible members cover their own costs, he said, so the federal government isn’t paying anything for the very people it’s targeting.
By HUD’s own analysis, there would be 108,104 people in 25,045 mixed-status families subject to the new rule. Of those households, 70 percent are eligible for assistance and 73 percent of the eligible people are children.
Northern said the Champaign County Housing Authority checked to see if any of the families living in its housing properties would be affected by the proposed HUD rule, and found none.
However, he said, pressures on immigration force many immigrants to keep their status to themselves.