WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Trump administration says it’s moving forward with plans to evict undocumented immigrants from public housing, which it says will open space to legal citizens, but Democrats are arguing it will put those in need on the streets.
“This is the most damaging policy I’ve seen in public housing,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., told Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson during a Tuesday hearing on Capitol Hill, also describing it as “despicable.”
“You will rip apart families and be throwing children onto the street,” she said.
The proposed plan would evict so-called “mixed-status” families, which include both members that are in the country legally and illegally. It would affect thousands of families that include, Democrats say, at least 55,000 children.
Carson defended the policy, saying the mixed-status families take up housing that legal citizens need.
“It’s not that we’re cruel and mean-hearted. It’s that we are logical,” he said. “This is common sense. You take care of your own first.”
He said the policy is legal and argued that Democrats should address the root of the problem: people crossing the southern border illegally.
“I would encourage my colleagues from across the aisle to put up the mirror and say maybe we have to deal with this problem maybe it’s not Dr. Carson’s fault,” Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wisc., agreed.
Carson added that the policy will save money and help reach a proposed 18% budget cut in federal housing programs.
But Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said the Trump administration needs to do more to help low-income families of all types.
“It’s really a betrayal of these renters,” he said of the proposed policy. “They should be working with local housing units to provide more housing not deny people access to housing.”
The rule change is open for public comment. House Democrats are considering a proposal to block it.