Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Young residents stand outside of an East Harlem public housing complex on May 19, 2015 in New York City. A new proposal by the Department of Housing and Urban Development could evict tens of thousands of children from public housing, mostly in New York, California, and Texas. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In Show of 'Breathtaking Cruelty,' Trump White House Unveils Plan That Would Evict Tens of Thousands of Children From Public Housing

"Another despicable action by the Trump administration to disrupt communities and separate families."

Julia Conley

Using the federal agency that oversees public housing to wage its latest attack on immigrants, the Trump administration has proposed a rule that critics warn would result in tens of thousands of children being evicted from their homes.

Weeks after announcing it would tighten restrictions on undocumented immigrants who live in public housing, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) unveiled a proposal on Friday which would take away all housing aid from families with at least one member who is an undocumented immigrant.

An analysis by HUD openly admitted that the rule would likely have a major impact on about 25,000 families with "mixed" immigration status, putting many at risk for homelessness—with extremely limited benefits for families that are currently waiting for apartments in public housing complexes.

Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, called the proposal "a callous action by HUD and Secretary Ben Carson."

Robert Greenstein, president of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) said the proposal was the latest in "the barrage of policies the administration has put forward" as part of its attempt at "sharply altering our nation's immigration policies and making life more difficult for immigrants."

"Coming on top of other executive orders and actions that have placed various immigrants at risk, the draft rule is another severe and unjustified measure that would harm both immigrant families and U.S. citizens and ill serve our country," Greenstein continued. "Threatening people who want to build better lives for themselves and their families is contrary to the national interest and our nation's most cherished values."

About 55,000 children are among the 108,000 people who could lose their homes thanks to the rule.

Many families would likely separate, with undocumented members leaving the rest of the family to continue living in public housing. Many others would be forcibly evicted or would leave in fear of the rule—a possibility that Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, argued was likely "the true motivation behind the proposed rule."

"Temporary homelessness could arise for a household, if they are unable to find alternative housing, for example in tight housing markets," the HUD analysis acknowledges.

"The cruelty of it is really breathtaking, and it would do real harm to kids and to families—and for what?" Yentel told NPR.

While the proposal is ostensibly aimed at reserving housing aid for families in which all members are legal residents or citizens, NPR noted, "HUD's unusually frank analysis concludes that there would be few benefits from the change for other low-income families waiting for aid."

"Mixed status" households generally get lower subsidies than other families, so HUD would likely begin spending more per year if all undocumented residents were forced to leave their homes.

HUD would likely "have to reduce the quantity and quality of assisted housing in response to higher costs," the agency wrote.

The new policy would "have an impact on the quality of service, e.g., maintenance of the units and possibly deterioration of the units that could lead to vacancy," the report added.

If Carson and President Donald Trump "really cared about housing wait lists," wrote Clarke on Twitter, "they would ask Congress for money for affordable housing."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

GOP 'Silence Speaks Volumes,' Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert's Bigotry Goes Unpunished

"Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress."

Brett Wilkins ·


Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·


UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'

"We're at a critical juncture in history," said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. "We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities."

Brett Wilkins ·


Progressive US Lawmakers Mark Black Friday With Calls to Pass the PRO Act

"The right to organize, fight for better working conditions, and fair pay must always be protected."

Jessica Corbett ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo