Trump’s new rule targets housing subsidies for legal immigrants

Brown public housing units in Manhattan, New York City.Getty

Under revised rule, immigrants deemed likely to need housing
subsidies will be denied entry to the U.S.

The Trump administration stepped up its efforts on Monday
keep legal immigrants from using federal housing subsidies by
amending the so-called “public charge” rule, which allows the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to deny entry to any
immigrant seeking a visa or green card if they’re deemed likely
to depend on the government as their main source of support.

Under the revised rule,
“public charge” is dramatically
expanded to include a number of new federal programs, including
Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, Section 8 Project-Based Rental
Assistance, and Public Housing programs, in addition to food
stamps, Medicaid, and parts of Medicare.

The changed rule—which will go into effect 60 days after
it’s posted to the federal register, expected to be
tomorrow—will give favor to wealthier immigrants in determining
whether they’ll receive a visa, green card, or citizenship.

“The public charge rule puts low-income immigrants in an
impossible bind of having to choose between accessing the supports
they need to live safe and healthy lives or protecting their
immigration status,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the
National Low Income Housing Coalition
in a statement.
“They will face increased risk of eviction
and homelessness, with tremendous personal and societal costs from
the poorer health, lowered educational attainment and lessened
lifetime earnings that will result.”

The rule will apply to new immigrants beginning on the effective
date, in addition to current immigrants seeking a change to their
immigration status. Exempt from the rule are those who already have
green cards, refugees, asylum-seekers, pregnant women, and

DHS will consider specific criteria when evaluating whether an
immigrant is likely to depend on public subsidies, including age,
health, financial status, assets, educations, skills, and familial
status. But DHS officials will have broad authority to determine
whether these factors will likely constitute reliance on public
subsidies such as housing vouchers.

The rule redefines public charge “to mean an alien who
receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12
months in the aggregate within any 36-month period.” If the
person receives two benefits in one month, that would count as
having received two months of benefits.

The criteria DHS will evaluate will also have “heavily
weighted” factors that go farther in making the determination
that an immigrant will become a public charge. Among the heavily
weighted negative factors are lack of employment, current receipt
of public benefits, insufficient means to cover medical costs, and
a previous determination of being deportable on the basis of public

Heavily weighted positive factors include English proficiency,
education, private health insurance, work history, family
relationships, and receipt of grants or contracts.

The public charge rule change is just the latest in a long list
of attempts by the Trump administration to curb both legal and
illegal immigration, and it’s not the first time the
administration has targeted immigrants who receive housing

In May,
the Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed a rule

that would change eligibility requirements for pubic housing that
by its own analysis would evict more than 55,000 children of
immigrant parents.

The rule would deny eligibility to a family if any member is an
undocumented immigrant. Currently, an immigrant family can sign a
lease on a public housing unit as long as one family member is in
the United States legally, usually the child of undocumented

Source: FS – All – Architecture 10
Trump’s new rule targets housing subsidies for legal immigrants