For months, Stephen Miller, one of President Trump’s top advisers, has pushed the administration to institute regulations that would penalize legal immigrants who rely on public benefits as part of a larger effort to limit the number of immigrants living in the country. One such regulation would declare an immigrant who uses welfare benefits to be a “public charge,” making him or her ineligible for permanent status.
Mr. Miller, along with White House aides, sent the new regulations to HUD officials this year; Mr. Carson was not pleased with the changes, and he questioned how they would be enforced but did not object, according to two people familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The regulations were closely held among officials at the department’s legal division for weeks, without being shared with those in the public housing division, who were alarmed by a policy many believed to be both immoral and unenforceable, according to a senior official at the department with direct knowledge of their complaints.
Career department officials pushed hard for a provision that would allow for a renewable six-month extension for tenants facing eviction. They have also argued that the new policy could cost the already-struggling agency millions in rent because undocumented immigrants — who do not want the scrutiny that missing payments would invite — are often among the most reliable tenants, the senior official said.
A spokesman for HUD did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.
Replacing households of mixed immigration status with households of only eligible residents would require the agency to provide full subsidies for each resident, costing HUD at least $193 million, the analysis found, and legal experts said the proposal would only exacerbate homelessness.
Rather than Congress allocating the funds, it is more likely that HUD would redirect resources to pay for the subsidies, the analysis found. Doing so could affect the number of households on the waiting list who receive public housing or the quality of housing.
“With part of the budget being redirected to cover the increase in subsidy, there could be fewer households served under the housing choice vouchers program; while for public housing, this would have an impact on the quality of service,” according to the analysis, “e.g., maintenance of the units and possibly deterioration of the units that could lead to vacancy.”