California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has urged the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to scrap its plan to prohibit economic aid to poor families with a member without legal immigration status in the country.
This Tuesday marks the deadline for public comments about HUD’s plan to withdraw the housing subsidy to beneficiary families that have at least one undocumented member residing with them.
The government’s efforts are part of the policy of President Donald Trump to limit immigrants benefits from aid policies as much as possible.
“The Trump Administration is unnecessarily and recklessly endangering access to housing for American families throughout the country,” Becerra said in a statement.
“Only in California, this proposal will force tens of thousands of people to make an unthinkable decision between evicting their loved ones and becoming homeless,” added the attorney, a former federal congressman for the Democratic Party.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) estimates that some 25,000 families would be affected by the government’s action.
The majority of these families live in California, New York and Texas, warns NLIHC.
In addition to mixed families with undocumented immigrants, the proposal eliminates housing assistance funds for families that have a beneficiary with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or work visas, student and non-immigrant visas for crime victims.
Becerra participated in the public comments assuring that the measure would affect almost 40,000 Californians, including citizen children who deserve the subsidy, and that the proposal increases the economic burden of state agencies.
A 2016 study by the American Psychological Association that examined the consequences of zero tolerance policies on housing subsidies warned that “these measures lead people evicted to regularly experience prolonged homelessness,” the document said.
The prosecutor warns that “the consequences of this proposed rule would aggravate the housing crisis in California”, which has seen an increase in people living in poverty in large cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In the Golden State, 436,340 families receive assistance in housing, for a total of 936,830 beneficiaries.
According to the prosecutor’s calculations, 37,280 of these people are at risk of ending up on the street or suffering from family separation.
“Instead of separating families, we should be doing everything possible to support them,” said Becerra.
Becerra’s appeal joins the requests of the state of New York, the District of Columbia, and the Hispanic Caucus of Congress that have asked the government to desist from the plan.