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Keep Families Together: Continuing Our Fight for Immigrant Families

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

By Nicole Imani Giles, Strategic Initiatives Consultant and Cecilia Chen, Public Policy Director, Northern California Grantmakers

In 2018, NCG mobilized over 25 foundations to oppose the harmful “public charge” rule as part of its Protecting Families Campaign. This rule would make people choose between the things they need and the people they love while favoring the wealthiest in our immigration system. NCG and foundations across California joined advocates, providers, and communities to push back against a cruel and unnecessary immigration policy that would worsen the well-being, health, and stability of millions of children and families. By December, over 260,000 comments were submitted nationally.

Last month, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a new proposed rule that would prohibit “mixed-status” families from living in public, Section 8, or other subsidized housing.  Mixed-status families are households that include both members who are eligible and ineligible for housing assistance based on their immigration status. Existing statute and regulation allow families to live together in subsidized housing even if one family member is ineligible so long as the housing subsidy is decreased to exclude the ineligible person from the assistance. Importantly, just because a household member is an “ineligible” immigrant, it doesn’t mean that they are undocumented. Immigrants can have legal status and still not be eligible for public housing and Section 8 programs.

Similar to the “public charge” rule, the HUD rule forces families to choose between living apart or leaving a housing program, a resource we know to be fundamental to ensuring families have the ability to thrive. HUD estimates that more than 55,000 children could face eviction under the proposed rule. Here in the Bay Area, nearly 75 percent of all immigrant households are mixed-status.

NCG is deeply concerned about the destructive effects this rule will have on families across Northern California. It is unconscionable that the Administration will force families into homelessness and worsen our region’s affordable housing crisis. Rather than forcing immigrant families from their homes, we must ensure that everyone has a safe, accessible, and decent affordable place to call their home. To learn more about the effects of this rule and how philanthropy can respond, watch the webinar Philanthropy California recently co-sponsored with Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees.

We are proud to support the Keep Families Together Campaign and encourage our members to take a firm position by opposing this rule. We urge foundations to submit unique comment to the Federal Register by July 9, 2019 that speaks to the devastating impact that this rule will have on families across our region. Please note: Submitting comments as part of the rule-making process is not lobbying and permissible for private foundations.

The Keep Families Together Campaign has provided several resources:

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