The City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (BLAC) today denounced the Trump Administration’s plan to kick undocumented immigrants out of all New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has already delivered the proposed rule to Congress. It will then appear in the Federal Register and undergo a two-month public comment period before potentially taking effect.
As reported in the Daily News, the measure would force local public housing authorities like NYCHA to expand their use of a homeland security program designed to help government agencies verify someone’s immigration or citizenship status to see if they are eligible for benefits.
HUD, according to the DN story, alleges the changes are meant to address long wait lists for public housing. Some 200,000 families are on the wait list at NYCHA, where there’s only a vacancy rate of 1%, officials said.
Currently, only U.S. citizens and legal documented immigrants can apply for and have their name on the lease for NYCHA apartments. However, if they have an undocumented relative also living in the apartment, that person will have to leave if the ruling goes into effect.
But BLAC lawmakers are calling on the City Council’s Public Housing and Immigration Committee to explore options if the policy were to move forward.
the city’s low to moderate income housing program; NYCHA. The BLAC calls on the City Council’s Public Housing and Immigration Committee to explore options if the policy were to move forward.
Among the possible solutions being talked about is creating a policy similar to the de Blasio Administration’s edict to the city police department for NYCHA officials. In January 2018, de Blasio issued the edict of new NYPD protocols to clarify and institutionalize the City’s policy that it will not voluntarily cooperate with federal immigration enforcement activities, and will only coordinate in limited circumstances, including where there is a public safety risk.
BLAC members will also work with the NY congressional delegation to make sure NYCHA residents make their voices heard in Washington.
NYCHA is home to 401,093 households across five boroughs in over 325 developments. Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians make up 95.2% of the NYCHA housing population.
“The anti-immigrant fringe occupying the White House has taken aim at our New American families at NYCHA, and we will spare no effort to oppose this racist policy,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller (D-Queens).
City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel (D-Brownsville), chair of the Committee on Public Housing, noted that the committee has worked with immigrant NYCHA families who are doing the right thing, contributing to society and taking the correct steps to work on obtaining citizenship.
“In this current climate, where immigrants are constantly attacked, those stories are not highlighted. In my district, I know of a single mom who has been working to renew her work visa, and at the same time is paying her $1,000 rent while taking her children to school every day. Now, the federal government is suggesting this woman and her children, be evicted. This is just plain wrong,” said Ampry-Samuel.
City Council Member Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook), chair of the Committee on Immigration said once again, the Trump Administration is targeting immigrants in the most insidious ways.
“From separating families to tracking immigrants down at courthouses to depriving them of critical housing, this is yet another instance of the federal government’s efforts to terrorize our immigrant communities,” said Menchaca.
“We have to fight this xenophobic deportation machine wherever it rears its ugly head. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus to protect immigrants living in NYCHA,” he added.