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- 04-30-2012, 07:54 AM #1
Massachusetts Citizens Argue Unfairness of Illegals in Subsidized Housing
Massachusetts Citizens Argue Unfairness of Illegals in Subsidized Housing
A 2010 Rasmussen survey showed Bay Staters’ strong disapproval of goodies for lawbreaking foreign moochers: 70 Percent of voters favor a ban on public benefits for illegal aliens. The public was also alerted to dollar costs by the multi-episode court drama about whether Obama’s illegal alien aunt (Zeituni Onyango of Kenya) would be allowed to continue living in this country and in taxpayer-funded housing.*
Below is the taxpayer-subsidized apartment complex in Boston where illegal alien Zeituni Onyango lives for free.
Massachusetts is among the most liberal of blue states, but that attitude may be changing at least in the immigration sub-topic due to the worsening assaults of illegal aliens on the taxpayer dollar during a painful recession.
* Of course the President’s aunt was granted asylum status with the big trough of associated free stuff, redistributed from the unwilling taxpayer. What, you thought this was a nation of laws??
Some question whether illegal immigrants should live in subsidized housing, Sentinel and Enterprise (Fitchburg, MA), April 29, 2012
When local housing directors review applications for subsidized public housing, they give preference to U.S. veterans, the elderly, and those with a disability.
But if an American citizen applies for an apartment at the same time as an illegal immigrant, the applicant who is here legally is given no preference in many cases.
Some think that needs to change.
In Massachusetts there are about 46,500 state-subsidized units and 37,000 federally subsidized units of public housing. While applicants for federal units are required to show proof of citizenship or legal immigration status to local housing authorities, they do not have to present the same proof when applying for state-subsidized units.
A group of lawmakers has been pushing legislation for several years that would require applicants to show their citizenship or immigration status at state-subsidized developments, as well.
In 2010 House lawmakers rejected key elements of a controversial Senate plan to step up enforcement of illegal immigration, which included language that would have prevented legally eligible public housing applicants from being displaced by non-legal residents.
To enforce the public-housing restriction, the state would have created a hot line for residents to anonymously report suspected violations to the attorney general.
A 1977 federal court decision has been interpreted in the state as a prohibition against asking applicants for state-subsidized public housing to disclose their immigration status. Supporters of changing the law have said they plan to work with Attorney General Martha Coakley to see if there is a way to challenge that ruling or get around it.
“It’s a crazy situation where you have someone who is in the country illegally and they’re getting housing ahead of American citizens,” said Sen. Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth.
Hedlund is the author of a bill making its way through the Legislature that would give U.S. citizens and legal immigrants preference for all forms of public housing over those here illegally.
“I would guarantee there is a lot of public support,” said Hedlund. “I hate to use the verbiage, but I think it’s one of those no-brainers. But I guess we have some no brainers in the building, too.”
Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said legislation mirroring Hedlund’s has failed to advance in the Legislature because of concerns that it would be challenged in court.
Changing the law would also unfairly disadvantage the children of illegal immigrants who were born in this country, said Millona. She said it could also lead to low-income women remaining in abusive relationships due to a fear they would be denied public housing as a result of their immigration status.
“If the law changes, these victims would not be able to go forward without status because they are stuck without a roof over their heads,” said Millona. “It would present a serious problem. I give a lot of credit to the Legislature for being cautious.”
There are tens of thousands of families on the waiting list for occupied public housing units across the state. The wait time for non-emergency, family public housing is generally three or more years, while the wait time for non-emergency, elderly housing is generally one to two years, according to the Department of Housing and Community Development.
In Lowell, where only 152 of the city’s 1,851 public housing units are state subsidized, there are few examples of illegal immigrants obtaining housing before citizens, said Lowell Housing Authority Director Gary Wallace. Nearly all housing applicants in the city put their names on the waiting list for both federal and state units, Wallace said.
Still, Wallace supports efforts to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining housing before those with citizenship or legal immigration status.
“Someone who’s in the country illegally should not be getting a public benefit,” said Wallace. “There are scarce resources and a big demand.”
The fact that Massachusetts forbids local housing authorities from asking about an applicant’s immigration status came to widespread attention in 2010, when it was revealed that President Barack Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, lived in a 68-unit public housing complex for the elderly and disabled in Boston even though she was living in the country illegally.
“DHCD is required to uphold the federal court judgment that does not allow screening for immigration status in public housing,” said DHCD spokeswoman Mary-Leah Assad in a statement.
A recent Suffolk University survey found that 84 percent of Massachusetts voters believe that applicants for state benefits should produce proof of citizenship or legal residency. Only 12 percent disagreed.
State Sen. Eileen Donoghue and Rep. David Nangle, both Lowell Democrats, said they recently began looking into this after a constituent inquired about how immigration status affects eligibility for public housing.
“I think it poses a serious issue,” said Donoghue. “I certainly want to look into it. We know that this type of housing is scarce and people wait a long time. If someone has illegal status it would seem to be an important determining eligibility.”
Nangle said housing authorities should not have different application standards for federal and state units.
“When I have an elderly person, or a family member of an elderly person, who has lived here all their lives, worked here all their lives, it’s very frustrating to me to find out they’re No. 222 on a list,” said Nangle. “If there are illegal immigrants getting these spots before them then I do have a problem with that and it’s something we ought to look into and try to change.”
Massachusetts Citizens Argue Unfairness of Illegals in Subsidized Housing | illegal immigration cost | Limits to GrowthThe price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men. Plato
- 04-30-2012, 08:03 AM #2“If the law changes, these victims would not be able to go forward without status because they are stuck without a roof over their heads,” said Millona.