PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Kenney, Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs Miriam Enriquez, and Director of the Office of Homeless Services Liz Hersh issued statements today opposing the federal government’s draft rule on “mixed status” families living in federally-subsidized housing.
Currently, tenants receiving housing assistance must already be authorized to live in the United States. The draft rule, however, would compel not just the person receiving the assistance to be authorized to live here but would also include any household members — including children, elders, and spouses. If adopted, the rule would force families to separate, or to stay together and face eviction and, possibly, homelessness.
Members of the public may offer feedback on the draft rule now until Tuesday, July 9.
“This move by the Trump Administration is nothing more than another intentional act of cruelty against our immigrant communities. There’s no reason why families should be penalized for taking care of elderly parents and relatives or for sharing a bed with the person they love,” said Mayor Kenney. “Let’s call this what it is: A targeted effort that will provide no benefits to American society while further marginalizing our immigrant communities.”
“This rule is unnecessarily cruel,” explained Miriam Enriquez, Director of the Office of Immigrant Affairs. “By changing the leaseholder eligibility requirement in this blanket fashion, HUD fails to recognize the complex and varied living arrangements of immigrants, particularly those with children who are U.S. citizens or green card holders. Altering the eligibility will primarily harm children. It could contribute to the eviction of over 55,000 children across the nation who are either U.S. citizens or green card holders. We cannot allow our residents, especially vulnerable children, to be subjected to such treatment. I urge Philadelphians to join me in expressing their concerns about how the proposed rule could have a huge impact on our community.”
“It’s distressing that our government would willfully and knowingly make people homeless,” said Liz Hersh, Director of the Office of Homeless Services. “It’s critical for people to make their voices heard in opposition to this rule. Philadelphia welcomes all, and whatever happens at the federal level, we’ll continue to work with our amazing providers to ensure that we as a local homeless services community do everything we can to support those in need regardless of race, ethnicity, or national origin. It’s important to note how confusing these decrees are coming from Washington at an operational level. We are constantly having to react to new proposals to roll back long-standing practices with destructive, unfunded mandates. Our job is to address people’s needs and help our community; the federal government is making our job harder.”
The City encourages Philadelphians to go to regulations.gov and offer comment on the draft rule’s page before the July 9, 2019 deadline.