HUD Takes Steps to Prevent Illegal Immigrants from Using Public Housing: ‘We’ve Got Our Own People to House’

The Trump administration is taking their first steps to prevent illegal immigrant families from living in public housing to free up space for American citizens currently on waitlists.

According to a report from the Washington Times, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says around 32,000 families living in public housing are held by undocumented adults.

HUD officials notified Congress that the department is researching methods that would close loopholes allowing illegal immigrant families to hold down taxpayer-funded housing while American citizens sit on housing waitlists. Currently, a Clinton-era rule allows anyone to file for public housing without disclosing their legal status in the U.S.

This pending rule change would force families living in public housing to verify their citizenship by being crosschecked against the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database — a system that is currently used to prevent illegal immigrants from collecting other forms of welfare.

Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

Additionally, the Clinton-era rules allow families to stay in public housing as long as one member of the family is a citizen, even if that person is a newborn. The Trump administration policy change would require that the head of the family be a legal citizen.

A HUD official policy change to the Washington Times, saying:

“We’ve got our own people to house and need to take care of our citizens. Because of past loopholes in HUD guidance, illegal aliens were able to live in free public housing desperately needed by so many of our own citizens. As illegal aliens attempt to swarm our borders, we’re sending the message that you can’t live off of American welfare on the taxpayers’ dime.”

Affordable housing is at a crisis level in many U.S. cities, including New York City, Nashville, and Charlotte.

So far, HUD is only taking its first step in implementing this rule change by notifying Congress. They still have to open the policy up for review and public comment with the implementation taking place in late summer — at the earliest — under the direction of Secretary Ben Carson.