Washington County commissioners, who oversee subsidized housing, are on record against a proposed federal rule that would eject undocumented immigrants from housing even if they are living with U.S. citizens.
The county board hopes to muster additional opposition to the proposed rule, which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is accepting public comment on through July 9.
"We have an opportunity to shed light on this rule that would have a tremendous impact on our county," Board Chairwoman Kathryn Harrington said after a 4-0 vote on Tuesday, June 18. "It would allow families to be forced out of their homes."
The current HUD rule allows undocumented immigrants to live with U.S. citizens or other eligible people in federally subsidized housing, but undocumented immigrants in such mixed-status families cannot receive subsidies.
Deputy County Administrator Ruth Osuna said about 300 people live in places overseen by the Housing Authority of Washington County, including 172 children under age 18 and 29 more 18 and older who are full-time students.
"We are concerned about the displacement of these families and adding to the growing problem of homelessness in the region," Osuna said.
The resolution was brought to the county board by the leadership of the Department of Housing Services.
"This (rule) would split families," Commissioner Dick Schouten said. "It is an act of gratuitous cruelty. I think we should not accept this as a standard way of operating and should not let this slide."
County officials said they hope to muster additional opposition from Multnomah and Clackamas counties, which operate their own housing authorities.
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