HUD Secretary Ben Carson Says He Has Duty to End Housing Assistance for Those Living with Illegals

By Melanie Arter | May 21, 2019 | 2:59pm EDT
(Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

( – Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) grilled HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson on Tuesday about his plan to crack down on illegal immigrants who live in subsidized housing.

During the House Financial Services Committee’s HUD oversight hearing, Maloney complained that by ending subsidies for people living with illegal immigrants, Carson would be responsible for evicting 55,000 children who are U.S. citizens in households with “mixed immigration status.”


Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) complained in her opening statement that she was concerned about Carson’s “recent cruel proposal to terminate housing benefits for families that include individuals with mixed immigration statuses.”

“Of course, existing law prevents federal housing programs from subsidizing individuals with ineligible immigration status. Prorated rental assistance allows mixed immigration status families to remain to together while exclusively subsidizing only those family members with eligible status. The Trump administration proposal puts mixed status families at risk of being evicted, separated, and left homeless,” she said.


The proposed rule, submitted to the Federal Register on May 10, 2019, has a comment period that ends on July 9.

Maloney called Carson’s proposal “despicable,” adding that is “among the most damaging proposals” she’s ever seen in public policy.

MALONEY: Mr. Secretary, the D in HUD does not stand for deportation. I am afraid that a recent proposal of yours will bring nothing but despair to thousands of American families by throwing children out of their homes. Simply put, we cannot create affordable housing for Americans by throwing other Americans out into the street with no place to go. I am very proud to represent Queensbridge Houses, which is the largest public housing complex in the entire country, along many other public housing complexes. So I’ve been working with public housing tenants since 1981, standing up for tenants’ rights, fighting against spending cuts, and exposing and ending corrupt mob contracts, but your plan to create vacancies by making 55,000 American children homeless is among the most damaging proposals I have ever seen in public policy, and quite frankly, I find it despicable.

You know that the current laws already prohibit federal housing programs from subsidizing undocumented immigrants. Individuals who are not eligible for housing assistance do not receive subsidies. By evicting mixed-status households, you will rip apart families and be throwing children onto the street, and where will the 55,000 children go>? Where will they live? What agency will care for their health and education?

Is your plan to have ICE put 55,000 more children on cages on the border? Not in my district, and not on my watch. This is a horrible plan. New York City now spends more than $600 million per year to support 8,200 children in foster care and $4.5 billion more every year to tackle homelessness. Have you considered how you would support the newly homeless families and children? Will they be going to foster care? What’s your plan?

CARSON: As far as what we’re doing with housing, the law that has been provided through Congress states specifically that the secretary of HUD may not provide housing assistance to people who are here illegally. It also states specifically that the secretary has the duty to end assistance if he finds that someone is violating that. So we are following the law …

MALONEY: But by law, already, I agree with you. You don’t provide subsidies to people who are here illegally, but these children were born here in America, and even if their families are illegal, it’s a mixed family in terms of legality.

The children are legal, so you could have the situation where the parents are deported, and the children, they leave the children here – American citizens – and who is gonna to take care of these children? Do you have a plan to take care of these 55,000 children, which is HUD’s number that came forward with that they project could be hurt by this plan. Do you have a pland for how to take care of these children? Yes or no?

CARSON: There are hundreds of thousands of children, as well as elderly and disabled people on the waiting list who are legal American citizens.

MALONEY: But Mr. Secretary, these children are legal American citizens. They were born in America. They are legal citizens.
CARSON: As I was saying, there are hundreds of thousands if not millions who are waiting on the list. Do you suggest that we prioritize people who are illegal citizens—

MALONEY: You’re gonna pick one American citizen over another. Again, these children are American citizens. They are legal, and what is your plan to take care of them?

CARSON: If you read the rule carefully, you will see that it provides a six-month deferral on requests if they have not found another place to live, and that can be renewed two times for a total of 18 months, which is plenty of time for Congress to engage in comprehensive immigration reform so that this becomes a moot point as does the DACA situation and a hundred other things.

The fact of the matter is, Congress has the responsibility for making the laws that govern this, and they have the ability to change that, and if in fact, you want to explain to the American citizens, who’ve been on the wait list for several years in your district in New York, why we should continue to support families that are not here legally, I would be happy to join you and helping to explain that to them.



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