Earlier this week, with little fanfare that Biden Administration announced by doing Federal Register that it would reverse one of Trump’s cruelest proposals against immigrants: namely, to refuse all mixed-status families – households in which some members are U.S. citizens and other undocumented immigrants –Access to public and subsidized housing.
Following Trump’s proposal, these families were faced with Sophie’s choice: either kick the undocumented member (usually a parent) out and keep the house, or keep the family’s integrity and take to the streets.
For nearly three years, a coalition of immigrant and civil rights groups, the state of California and many other states has opposed this proposal. They argue that doing so would lead to mass homelessness for free in already vulnerable families – at the time of the proposal, approximately 100,000 people in mixed-status families lived in public or subsidized housing – and would harm at least as many U.S. citizens, including over 55,000 children how undocumented adults would be.
At the time, the then California Attorney General was Xavier Becerra called the judgment “Unnecessary, inhuman and un-American.” Now its position as common sense is being held in Biden administrations and, increasingly, in blue states across the country.
On the same day that the government announced that it would no longer follow Trump-era guidelines for access to housing, New York State passed a state budget of more than $ 200 billion. Urged by a coalition of activists who have highlighted the plight of undocumented workers and immigrants who are excluded from social security and pandemic programs – some of whom have went on hunger strike to move their case forward – it includes a $ 2.1 billion fund that provides benefits and safety net support to residents who have fallen through cracks in the federal system.
This means New York is now joining California, Oregon, Washington, and other states that added the undocumented to their social safety nets during the pandemic.
The willingness to support protective measures for undocumented people has been a long time coming. In 1994, California voters and their political leaders were so hostile to undocumented immigrants that the voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 187Persons without legal status are exempt from all public services, including K-12 training. It was made under a similar law in Texas, Passed in 1982 and subsequently classified as unconstitutional. Although the US Supreme Court ultimately found California law unconstitutional, it set the bar nationwide for tough measures against immigrants. Arizona A few years later, two notoriously harsh laws followed that made it much easier for law enforcement agencies to stop, question, and request immigration papers from anyone they believed were undocumented and punishing anyone who contributed in any way has that undocumented residents stay in the city country. Several other states also advocated strict immigration policies. And of course, Trump won the presidency in 2016 while using crude anti-immigrant rhetoric as a club.