NEW YORK - President Donald Trump proposed a new rule that could lead to a purge from public housing of thousands of families that contain a family member not in the US legally.
It "kind of scare(s) me and it scare(s) my kids,” said a woman we spoke with in Brownsville, Brooklyn. "Because they see it on the TV, how they grab people’s kids."
The woman, a single mother of three, is referring to Immigration and Customs Enforcement actions. She fears losing her apartment in public housing if the latest proposal by the Trump administration is enacted. NY1 agreed to hide her identify so she would talk to us; she doesn’t have legal status in this country.
She arrived from Trinidad and Tobago in 2001 and overstayed her tourist visa. She was able to get an apartment in Brownsville because her children are U.S. citizens. Families like hers with mixed immigration status are the targets of the proposed rule by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"What do we tell that family, a mother that's paying her rent, she's raising her children go to school every single day, and now we're telling them because you don't have the proper status, you need to be evicted from your apartment that you've lived in for years?" said Alicka Ampry-Samuel, City Council Chair of the Committee on Public Housing.
Ampry-Samuel says she personally knows of a half dozen mixed immigration families in Housing Authority developments. The city says it doesn’t track that number, but advocates worry there are thousands.
The Trump Administration says those apartments and Section 8 housing vouchers - should to go to citizens.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson Tweeted about the plan, writing
"Here in New York City, it would only make matters worse," said Ampry-Samuel.
There are 200,000 families on the list to get into NYCHA apartments, and 150,000 want section 8 vouchers, but Ampry-Samuel says families who would lose aid have to live somewhere.
"What this is going to do is cause more families to go into our shelter system,: she said.
"This is just another attack by the Trump administration on immigrants," said Daniel Altschuler of Make The Road New York. The immigrant advocacy nonprofit says people without documentation are particularly vulnerable.
I saw that the single mother from Trinidad and Tobago was tearing up.
"Any time I talk about it, it does," she said. "It just kind of scare me and scare my kids."
HUD delivered the proposed rule to Congress last week. City officials are anxious to see the wording, worried it could impact other housing programs. It will appear in the Federal Register next week, then would undergo a two-month public comment period before potentially taking effect.