U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley on Thursday implored Trump administration officials to reconsider a housing rule they believe would worsen homelessness.
The rule, proposed by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, would ban families with at least one member in the country illegally from living in taxpayer subsidized housing. If approved, the rule would expand on an existing ban on those immigrants receiving subsidies directly.
A government assessment of the proposal found it would cause more than 100,000 people to lose their housing aid. About 70 percent are lawful residents and 55,000 of them are children.
Wyden and Merkley, both Democrats, panned the proposed rule, saying it would force people into homelessness.
“This misguided approach runs counter to HUD’s mission and breaks with the sensible policies the department has had in place for over two decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations,” the senators wrote in a letter, signed by 17 Senate colleagues, to Ben Carson, the HUD secretary.
They added in the letter: “This is nothing more than an attempt to advance a dangerous agenda that targets and scapegoats the immigrant community.”
The senators argued that rather than alleviating the affordable housing crisis, the rule would exacerbate it by pulling assistance “from eligible immigrants and citizens.”
Carson framed the proposed regulation as a way to help citizens get housing aid.
“Our nation faces affordable housing challenges,” Carson said in a tweet, “and hundreds of thousands of citizens are waiting for many years on waitlists to get housing assistance.”