B-197312.OM, JUN 4, 1980

B-197312.OM: Jun 4, 1980

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THE PROBLEM IS THAT IN SPITE OF INSUFFICIENT RESOURCES TO SERVE ALL WHO NEED LOW COST HOUSING. HUD REFUSES TO EXCLUDE ILLEGAL ALIENS FROM OR LIMIT ACCESS TO SUCH HOUSING TO PERSONS WHO ARE LAWFULLY IN THIS COUNTRY. WE HAVE REVIEWED THE APPLICABLE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS. IT WILL HAVE TO RECOMMEND LEGISLATION TO ADD AN ELIGIBILITY SECTION TO THE EXISTING LAW AND A SECTION TO PERMIT HUD TO CONTRACT WITH LOCAL PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES (PHA'S) TO SCREEN APPLICANTS' CITIZENSHIP OR RESIDENCY STATUS. DEIBEL WOULD LIKE TO SEE ADOPTED ARE: 1) EXCLUSION OF PERSONS ILLEGALLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES FROM ACCESS TO FEDERALLY-SUBSIDIZED HOUSING. BOTH THESE PROGRAMS ARE COLLECTIVELY KNOWN AS "LOW INCOME HOUSING" AND ARE GOVERNED BY THE HOUSING ACT OF 1937.

B-197312.OM, JUN 4, 1980

SUBJECT: ILLEGAL ALIENS' OCCUPANCY OF PUBLIC HOUSING CODE 990755 - B-197312 O.M.

DIRECTOR, FOD, FRANCIS X. FEE:

KARL DEIBEL OF THE LOS ANGELES REGIONAL OFFICE ASKED FOR INFORMATION TO SUPPORT A PROPOSED CHANGE IN CURRENT DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD) ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR OCCUPANCY OF FEDERALLY SUBSIDIZED HOUSING. HE HAS DOCUMENTED THE EXISTENCE OF A PROBLEM IN THIS AREA WHICH HE FEELS THAT HUD NEEDS TO ADDRESS. THE PROBLEM IS THAT IN SPITE OF INSUFFICIENT RESOURCES TO SERVE ALL WHO NEED LOW COST HOUSING, HUD REFUSES TO EXCLUDE ILLEGAL ALIENS FROM OR LIMIT ACCESS TO SUCH HOUSING TO PERSONS WHO ARE LAWFULLY IN THIS COUNTRY. WE HAVE REVIEWED THE APPLICABLE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS. IF THE GAO WISHES TO URGE THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF ACCESS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS TO HOUSING BENEFITS, IT WILL HAVE TO RECOMMEND LEGISLATION TO ADD AN ELIGIBILITY SECTION TO THE EXISTING LAW AND A SECTION TO PERMIT HUD TO CONTRACT WITH LOCAL PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES (PHA'S) TO SCREEN APPLICANTS' CITIZENSHIP OR RESIDENCY STATUS. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND A REPORT SUGGESTING THAT HUD UNDERTAKE TO ESTABLISH CITIZENSHIP OR ALIENAGE AS AN ELIGIBILITY CRITERION IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION.

THE SPECIFIC CHANGES WHICH MR. DEIBEL WOULD LIKE TO SEE ADOPTED ARE:

1) EXCLUSION OF PERSONS ILLEGALLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES FROM ACCESS TO FEDERALLY-SUBSIDIZED HOUSING;

2) RESTRICTION OF ACCESS BY NON-IMMIGRANT ALIENS; AND

3) PRIORITY FOR UNITED STATES CITIZENS OVER PERMANENT RESIDENT AND OTHER IMMIGRANT ALIENS.

THE FIRST TWO GOALS COULD BE INCLUDED IN AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION. THE THIRD, A CITIZENS' PREFERENCE, MIGHT, WE FEEL, BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND VIOLATIVE OF FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS. THEREFORE, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND PROPOSING PREFERENCE LEGISLATION.

I BACKGROUND AND NATURE OF THE PROBLEM

HUD PROVIDES FEDERAL FUNDS FOR PUBLIC HOUSING AND CONTRACTS WITH LOCAL PHA'S TO CONSTRUCT, MAINTAIN, AND MANAGE LOW INCOME HOUSING PROJECTS. ALSO PROVIDES FUNDS TO SUPPLEMENT THE RENT OF LOW INCOME PERSONS IN PRIVATELY-OWNED HOUSING. BOTH THESE PROGRAMS ARE COLLECTIVELY KNOWN AS "LOW INCOME HOUSING" AND ARE GOVERNED BY THE HOUSING ACT OF 1937, SUBSTANTIALLY AMENDED BY THE HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 1974, CODIFIED AT 42 U.S.C. SECS. 1401 - 40 (1976). THESE STATUTES STATE THAT THEIR PURPOSE IS "TO PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE" BY PROVIDING DECENT, SAFE AND SANITARY HOUSING TO "FAMILIES OF LOW INCOME" 42 U.S.C. SEC. 1437. SECTION 1437A DEFINES "LOW INCOME FAMILIES" AS FAMILIES WHO CANNOT AFFORD COMMERCIAL RENTS, AND FURTHER DEFINES "VERY LOW INCOME FAMILIES," "ELDERLY FAMILIES," "SINGLE PERSON FAMILIES," AND "DISPLACED" FAMILIES. AS THIS IS THE ONLY REFERENCE IN THE STATUTE WHICH RELATES TO ELIGIBILITY, HOUSING ASSISTANCE HAS BEEN MADE AVAILABLE TO ALL QUALIFIED LOW INCOME FAMILIES ON A "FIRST-COME FIRST-SERVE" BASIS. CITIZENS AND NON -CITIZENS ARE EQUALLY ELIGIBLE IF THEY MEET THE NEED CRITERIA. THIS HUD PRACTICE IS REINFORCED BY THE FACT THAT A RESTRICTION ON PROVIDING FEDERAL HOUSING ASSISTANCE TO NON CITIZENS WAS DROPPED FROM HOUSING APPROPRIATIONS LEGISLATION IN 1952 AND NEVER REINSERTED.

ACCORDING TO YOUR STAFF, HOWEVER, RECENT DEVELOPMENTS HAVE CREATED A SITUATION WHICH DEMANDS CHANGE. A LARGE NEW GROUP OF NON-CITIZENS EXISTS TODAY. THIS GROUP WAS INSIGNIFICANT AS FEW AS 20 YEARS AGO. MEMBERS OF THIS GROUP ARE ILLEGAL ALIENS - PEOPLE WHO HAVE CROSSED UNITED STATES BORDERS WITHOUT INSPECTION OR PEOPLE IN VIOLATION OF THEIR VISAS. THEIR MERE PRESENCE IN THE UNITED STATES IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. 8 U.S.C. SEC. 1325 (1976). THEY NUMBER SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 5 AND 12 MILLION. MOST ARE EMPLOYED IN LOW SKILL, LOW INCOME JOBS AND MANY COME HERE WITH FAMILY MEMBERS.

AT THE SAME TIME THE ILLEGAL ALIEN GROUP HAS BEEN GROWING IN NUMBERS, THE DEMAND FOR LOW INCOME HOUSING HAS ALSO INCREASED. POPULATION GROWTH, INFLATION, BUDGET CUTS, AND THE SLOW DOWN IN NEW CONSTRUCTION MEAN THAT HOUSING ASSISTANCE IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE TO LESS THAN 10% OF THOSE WHO NEED IT. FURTHER, THE LIFETIME VALUE OF A FEDERAL HOUSING SUBSIDY TO A RECIPIENT FAMILY IS OVER $100,000. THE VALUE AND SCARCITY OF HOUSING UNITS LEAD YOUR STAFF TO CONCLUDE THAT HOUSING SHOULD BE PROVIDED TO THOSE WHO ARE LEGALLY ENTITLED TO RESIDE IN THE UNITED STATES AND NOT TO ILLEGAL ALIENS.

ANOTHER GROUP OF NON-CITIZENS WHO ARE CURRENTLY BEING PROVIDED HOUSING ASSISTANCE ARE NON-IMMIGRANT ALIENS. NON-IMMIGRANT ALIENS ARE PERSONS WHO LEGALLY ENTER THE UNITED STATES FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE AND MAY LEGALLY REMAIN ONLY FOR A LIMITED PERIOD OF TIME. THEY NEVER ABANDON THEIR FOREIGN DOMICILE AND DO NOT INTEND TO MAKE THE UNITED STATES THEIR PERMANENT HOME. THEIR ACCESS TO EMPLOYMENT IN THIS COUNTRY IS RESTRICTED AND THEY MUST HAVE AN ADEQUATE SOURCE OF FOREIGN GENERATED SUPPORT AS A CONDITION OF ADMISSION. IN THIS IMMIGRATION CATEGORY ARE TOURISTS, FOREIGN STUDENTS, DIPLOMATS, EMPLOYEES OF FOREIGN CORPORATIONS DOING BUSINESS IN THE UNITED STATES, AND ELEVEN OTHER STATUTORILY DENOMINATED CLASSIFICATIONS. 8 U.S.C. SEC. 1101 (A)(15)(A)-(K) (1976). IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS SOVEREIGN RIGHT TO REGULATE THE ADMISSION, STAY, AND REMOVAL OF ALIENS, THE CONGRESS HAS CHOSEN TO APPLY CONDITIONS AND RESTRICTIONS TO THE STAY OF NON IMMIGRANT ALIENS IN THE UNITED STATES. YOUR STAFF CONTENDS THAT AS A MATTER OF POLICY, IT MAY BE SENSIBLE TO PREVENT UNLIMITED ACCESS OF THESE PERSONS TO FEDERALLY-ASSISTED HOUSING. THIS POLICY SHOULD, IN OUR VIEW, BE ENUNCIATED BY THE CONGRESS, AND BASED PRESUMABLY ON THE CONSIDERATION THAT THE PRESENCE OF NON-IMMIGRANT ALIENS IN PUBLIC HOUSING CAUSES THE DISPLACEMENT OF CITIZENS AND IMMIGRANT ALIENS.

THERE IS A THIRD GROUP OF ALIENS WHO WE BELIEVE SHOULD BE ON EQUAL FOOTING WITH CITIZENS AS FAR AS HOUSING BENEFITS ARE CONCERNED. IN THIS GROUP ARE IMMIGRANT ALIENS, A GROUP OF NON-CITIZENS CONSISTING OF PERMANENT RESIDENT ALIENS SPECIAL IMMIGRANTS, REFUGEES AND PAROLEES, ALL OF WHOM HAVE THE UNCONDITIONAL (THOUGH REVOCABLE) RIGHT TO REMAIN PERMANENTLY IN THE UNITED STATES. THE DUE PROCESS AND EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSES OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION BY THE FEDERAL OR STATE GOVERNMENTS ON THE BASIS OF ALIENAGE. TAKAHASHI V. FISH AND GAME COMMISSION, 334 U.S. 410 (1948). IN ADDITION TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROSCRIPTION, FEDERAL CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF SUCH ALIENS. SECTION 1981 OF TITLE 42 GUARANTEES THAT -

"ALL PERSONS IN THE JURISDICTION OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL HAVE THE SAME RIGHT *** TO MAKE AND ENFORCE CONTRACTS AS *** IS ENJOYED BY WHITE CITIZENS."

THIS STATUTE PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF NON CITIZENSHIP. IT HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY APPLIED TO STRIKE DOWN CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENTS IN STATE HOUSING PROGRAMS. LOPEZ V. WHITE PLAINS HOUSING AUTHORITY, 355 F. SUPP. 1016 (S. D. N. Y. 1972); WEEKS V. WALTHAM HOUSING AUTHORITY, C.A. 76-402-F (D. MASS. AUG. 22, 1977). THUS, ANY LEGISLATION YOU PROPOSE SHOULD NOT SUGGEST TOTALLY EXCLUDING ALIENS FROM FEDERAL HOUSING PROGRAMS.

SIMILARLY, WE WOULD NOT RECOMMEND INSTITUTION OF A CITIZEN PRIORITY IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF AVAILABLE HOUSING UNITS. RECOGNIZING THE SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STATUTORY BAR TO ALIENS' ADMISSION TO PUBLIC HOUSING AND A PREFERENCE FOR CITIZENS OVER IMMIGRANT ALIENS, WE NONETHELESS FEEL THAT A PREFERENCE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM WOULD BE IMPROPER. THE OVERWHELMING NUMBERS OF NEEDY CITIZENS AND THE SHORTAGE OF HOUSING UNITS WOULD RESULT IN ALIENS SELDOM IF EVER ACTUALLY BEING PLACED IN HOUSING. KNOWING IN ADVANCE THAT THIS WOULD BE THE RESULT, AN OSTENSIBLY NEUTRAL PREFERENCE FOR CITIZENS WOULD BE TANTAMOUNT TO AN ABSOLUTE AND TOTAL EXCLUSION.

THIS IS NOT TO SAY, HOWEVER, THAT ALL CITIZENS AND NON-CITIZENS MUST HAVE IDENTICAL ACCESS TO ALL FEDERAL PROGRAMS. THE SUPREME COURT RECENTLY ENDORSED RATIONAL LIMITATIONS ON ALIENS' ELIGIBILITY FOR FEDERAL WELFARE BENEFITS. IN MATTHEWS V. DIAZ, 426 U.S. 67 (1976), THE COURT UPHELD THE VALIDITY OF THE MEDICARE ELIGIBILITY STATUTE WHICH REGULATES BOTH THE CHARACTER AND THE DURATION OF THE NON-CITIZEN APPLICANT'S RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES. THE LAW REQUIRES THAT ENROLLEES BE CITIZENS OR PERMANENT RESIDENT ALIENS FOR AT LEAST FIVE YEARS BEFORE ENROLLMENT. IN A UNANIMOUS DECISION, THE COURT HELD THAT THERE IS NO CONSTITUTIONAL OR OTHER LEGAL REQUIREMENT WHICH DEMANDS THAT ALL ALIENS IN THE UNITED STATES BE TREATED AS A SINGLE, HOMOGENOUS GROUP. THE MATTHEWS DECISION CLEARED THE WAY FOR THE KIND OF LEGISLATION YOU WANT TO RECOMMEND - AN ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENT FOR PUBLIC HOUSING ASSISTANCE LINKED TO IMMIGRATION STATUS.

II WHY LEGISLATION IS NEEDED

ALTHOUGH NOTHING IN THE CURRENT STATUTE WOULD EXPRESSLY PROHIBIT HUD FROM ATTEMPTING TO RESTRICT THE ACCESS OF ILLEGAL OR NON-IMMIGRANT ALIENS BY REGULATION, HUD IS UNDERSTANDABLY HESITANT TO ASSUME SUCH AUTHORITY.

SEVERAL FACTORS APPEAR TO INFLUENCE THIS CHOICE, THE PRINCIPAL ONE HAVING BEEN MENTIONED ABOVE: THE APPLICABLE HOUSING LEGISLATION IS TOTALLY SILENT ON THE QUESTION OF CITIZENSHIP OR PERMANENT LEGAL IMMIGRATION STATUS AS A THRESHOLD ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENT. IN SUPPORT OF THE CONCLUSION THAT THIS SILENCE SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS A REQUIREMENT TO REFRAIN FROM MAKING ANY DISTINCTION AMONG APPLICANTS BASED ON THEIR LEGAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE UNITED STATES, WE NOTE THAT THE LOW INCOME HOUSING LAW WAS TOTALLY REVISED ONLY SIX YEARS AGO, AT A TIME WHEN THE CONGRESS WAS NOT UNAWARE OF THE GROWING ILLEGAL ALIEN POPULATION AND THEIR POTENTIAL IMPACT. ALSO, WE NOTE THAT VIRTUALLY EVERY OTHER STATUTORY FEDERAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM - MEDICARE, SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI), FOOD STAMPS, PUBLIC SERVICE (CETA) EMPLOYMENT AND OTHERS - CONTAINS AN ELIGIBILITY SECTION WHICH SPECIFICALLY REQUIRES THAT PARTICIPANTS BE PERMANENT, OR AT LEAST LEGAL, RESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES. SEE, E.G., 42 U.S.C. SEC. 1395 (1- 2)(A)(3)(1976) (MEDICARE); 42 U.S.C. SEC. 426A (A) (4) (SSI); 7 U.S.C. SEC. 2015 (F) (SUPP. I 1977) (FOOD STAMPS), 29 U.S.C.A. SEC. 834 (E) (WEST SUPP. 1980) (CETA). FINALLY, IN 1952, CONGRESS EXPLICITLY DELETED A CITIZENSHIP RESTRICTION IN HOUSING APPROPRIATIONS LEGISLATION.

HUD ALSO TAKES THE POSITION THAT ANY ACTION IN THIS AREA WOULD CONSTITUTE REGULATION OF IMMIGRATION. AS AN AGENCY, IT IS NOT CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EVALUATING ANY INDIVIDUAL'S LEGAL STATUS, AND, ACCORDINGLY, IT FEELS THAT NO INQUIRY AS TO CITIZENSHIP OR IMMIGRATION STATUS OF APPLICANTS CAN BE JUSTIFIED. IT ALSO GIVES THE SAME ADVICE TO LOCAL PHA'S BUT ONLY WHEN SPECIFICALLY ASKED. LETTER TO SENATOR JOHN TOWER, FROM ASSISTANT SECRETARY LAWRENCE B. SIMONS, OCTOBER 26, 1977. COUPLES THIS ADVICE, HOWEVER, WITH THE CAVEAT THAT LOCAL PHA'S HAVING KNOWLEDGE OF ILLEGAL ALIENS RESIDING IN THEIR PROPERTIES SHOULD TURN THE NAMES AND ADDRESSES OVER TO THE IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE.

FURTHER, STATES AND LOCAL PHA'S DO NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO IMPOSE THEIR OWN CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENTS. THIS IS SO EVEN THOUGH EXCEPT FOR FEDERALLY PRESCRIBED INCOME LEVELS, NONDISCRIMINATION REQUIREMENTS AND GENERAL GUIDELINES ON TENANT MIX, TENANT SELECTION IS A LOCAL MATTER.

THE MATTHEWS CASE, CITED ABOVE, HOLDS THAT STATES AND THEIR LOCAL INSTRUMENTALITIES SUCH AS PHA'S MAY NOT SET UP ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS LINKED TO UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP. THE COURT SAID THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ALONE HAS THE POWER TO MAKE SUCH REQUIREMENTS, AS IT REGULATES IMMIGRATION AS A PART OF ITS REGULAR ACTIVITIES. STATES, ACCORDING TO THE SUPREME COURT, HAVE NO REASON TO TREAT CITIZENS OF ANOTHER COUNTRY DIFFERENTLY THAN THEY WOULD TREAT CITIZENS OF ANOTHER STATE. 426 U.S. 67, 83. THIS MEANS THAT SCREENING PRACTICES INTENDED TO EXCLUDE ANY SPECIFIC CLASSIFICATION OF ALIEN WOULD BE AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL EXERCISE OF THE STATE'S POWER AND THEREFORE ILLEGAL.

EVEN IF THEY HAD THE AUTHORITY, PHA'S ARE OFTEN UNDER GREAT POLITICAL PRESSURE FROM SENSITIVE COMMUNITY GROUPS TO REFRAIN FROM INSTITUTING CITIZENSHIP SCREENING PROCEDURES. AN EXAMPLE OF THIS KIND OF PRESSURE AND ITS EFFECTIVENESS AT THE LOCAL LEVEL WAS FOUND IN A SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA CASE. A CITY ORDINANCE WOULD HAVE REQUIRED APPLICANTS FOR PUBLIC HOUSING ASSISTANCE TO PROVIDE, WITHIN 90 DAYS OF THE APPLICATION, PROOF THAT THEY WERE CITIZENS OR LEGAL ALIENS. AN APPLICATION DENIED FOR ANY REASON, INCLUDING FAILURE TO PRODUCE REQUIRED PROOF WOULD HAVE NECESSITATED AN INFORMAL HEARING UNDER THE LOCAL PHA'S CONTRACT WITH HUD. 42 U.S.C. SEC. 1437D (C)(3)(1976). WHEN PRESSED BY LOCAL MEXICAN-AMERICAN GROUPS, THE CITY RESCINDED THE ORDINANCE.

ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT REASONS WHY LEGISLATION IS NEEDED TO DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM OF ILLEGAL AND NON-IMMIGRANT ALIENS' UNLIMITED ACCESS TO PUBLIC HOUSING IS ALSO THE SIMPLEST. HUD HAS STATED THAT IT INTENDS TO CONTINUE ITS "HANDS OFF" POLICY. IN RESPONSE TO AN INQUIRY BY REPRESENTATIVE HAROLD RUNNELS OF NEW MEXICO, HUD STATED:

"EVEN IF HUD HAD THE AUTHORITY UNDER THE LAW TO SPECIFICALLY PROSCRIBE OCCUPANCY OF ASSISTED HOUSING BY UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS, THE DEPARTMENT WOULD PREFER NOT TO TAKE THAT STEP. TO DO SO WOULD REQUIRE ALL PHA'S AND PRIVATE OWNERS PARTICIPATING IN HUD PROGRAMS TO REQUIRE ALL APPLICANTS TO DECLARE AND DOCUMENT THEIR STATUS AS CITIZENS OR ALIENS; AN ONEROUS ADDITION TO THE ALREADY EXTENSIVE PROCESS OF APPLYING FOR HOUSING ASSISTANCE." REPRINTED IN CONG. REC. E864-65 (DAILY ED., FEBRUARY 27, 1978). THIS STATEMENT MAKES IT CLEAR THAT IF A CHANGE IN HUD POLICY IS TO BE BROUGHT ABOUT, IT WOULD BE PREFERABLE THAT THE EXISTENCE OF A PROBLEM BE DOCUMENTED AND A REQUIREMENT TO DISTRIBUTE HOUSING ONLY TO CITIZENS AND IMMIGRANT ALIENS BE INSERTED INTO THE LOW INCOME HOUSING LAW.

III WHAT KIND OF LEGISLATION IS NEEDED? IF, AFTER REVIEWING THE SITUATION, YOU DETERMINE THAT THERE IS A PROBLEM OF SUFFICIENT MAGNITUDE TO BE BROUGHT TO CONGRESS' ATTENTION, AT LEAST TWO ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS WILL NEED TO BE INSERTED INTO EXISTING LAW. THE FIRST IS AN ELIGIBILITY SECTION. THE CURRENT LAW CONTAINS NO ELIGIBILITY PROVISION AS SUCH - ONLY A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE (TO PROVIDE HOUSING TO FAMILIES OF LOW INCOME) AND DEFINITIONS OF TYPES OF LOW INCOME FAMILIES WHO QUALIFY. WE WOULD SUGGEST A TOTALLY NEW SECTION ON ELIGIBILITY, STATING THAT APPLICANTS FOR HOUSING ASSISTANCE MUST BE CITIZENS, PERMANENT RESIDENT ALIENS OR OTHER IMMIGRANT ALIENS LAWFULLY ADMITTED TO THIS COUNTRY IN ORDER TO QUALIFY.

A SECOND NEW PROVISION SHOULD BE ADDED IN SECTION 1437D OF THE EXISTING LAW. SECTION 1437D CONTAINS THE CONTRACT TERMS WHICH PHA'S MUST AGREE TO ACCEPT IN ORDER TO OBTAIN HUD FUNDS. THIS SECTION CURRENTLY REQUIRES PHA'S TO FOLLOW SOUND MANAGEMENT PRACTICES IN TENANT SELECTION. IT SHOULD ALSO CONTAIN A CONTRACT REQUIREMENT THAT PHA'S SCREEN APPLICANTS AND REQUEST PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP OR APPROPRIATE IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS INDICATING ELIGIBLE IMMIGRANT ALIEN STATUS.

REGULATIONS WOULD NEED TO BE ISSUED TO FURTHER REFINE AND TO IMPLEMENT EACH OF THESE SECTIONS. CLARIFICATION OF TERMS USED, ACCEPTABLE DOCUMENTATION, TIME AND METHOD OF PRESENTATION, ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURES FOR CITIZENS UNABLE TO PRODUCE PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP, AND OTHER QUESTIONS COULD ALL BE DEALT WITH BY REGULATION.

ANOTHER ISSUE WHICH SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN RECOMMENDING LEGISLATION IS WHO IN THE FAMILY TO BE HOUSED MUST MEET THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS, E.G., THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY, ALL ADULT FAMILY MEMBERS, OR ALL PERSONS TO BE HOUSED. WE ALSO FEEL THAT ANY LEGISLATIVE ACTION SHOULD BE PROSPECTIVE IN APPLICATION. IT WOULD BE ADMINISTRATIVELY IMPOSSIBLE, AND PERHAPS LEGALLY IMPERMISSIBLE, TO REQUIRE THIS DOCUMENTATION OF PERSONS ALREADY RESIDING IN PUBLIC HOUSING.

WE WILL BE GLAD TO WORK WITH YOUR STAFF IN DEVELOPING LEGISLATIVE LANGUAGE TO MEET THESE REQUIREMENTS.

A COPY OF THIS OPINION IS BEING PROVIDED TO THE DIRECTOR, CEDD. WE WOULD CAUTION THAT BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH A STUDY OF THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM OF ILLEGAL ALIENS IN PUBLIC HOUSING, YOU MAY WISH TO CONSIDER THE POLICY IMPLICATIONS INVOLVED, INCLUDING THOSE WHICH HAVE ARISEN AS A RESULT OF THE RECENT CUBAN IMMIGRATION.

CC: HENRY ESCHWEGE - DIRECTOR, CEDD RICHARD WOODS - CEDD KARL DEIBEL - LOS ANGELES REGIONAL OFFICE