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Government Postpones Prohibition on Illegal Aliens In Housing Projects

July 25, 1986

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Enforcement of a government rule banning illegal aliens from federally- assist ed housing projects is being postponed for two months to give Congress more time to dispose of the issue.

Housing Secretary Samuel R. Pierce announced Thursday that the regulations will not take effect until Sept. 30 instead of July 30.

The delay ″will provide ample time for Congress to address the issue in new housing legislation or for it to become clear that no amendment will be forthcoming,″ Pierce said in a letter to Rep. Henry Gonzalez, D-Texas, chairman of the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee’s housing subcommittee.

The new regulations, published April 1, require residents of public housing projects to prove they are citizens or legal residents. They also direct that illegal aliens be evicted.

The House passed legislation last month as part of the housing authorization bill that would prohibit the eviction of families of illegal aliens that include at least one member, such as a child, who is a legal resident or a U.S. citizen.

All new applicants, however, would have to be citizens or legal residents.

Under the provision sponsored by Reps. Edward Roybal, D-Calif., and Robert Dornan, R-Calif., residents or applicants would only have to affirm, ot prove, citizenship or legal resident status.

Gonzalez said he and Rep. Stewart McKinney, R-Conn., sought the delay from Pierce because the HUD regulations threatened ″to bring very hard injustices″ on residents of public housing projects.

Gonzalez said the proof-of-citizenship rule threatened the eviction of many Mexican-American residents of public housing projects in the Southwest. Many of these elderly residents did not have proof of their citizenship even though they had resided in the United States since they were children, he said.

Pierce granted the postponement because he didn’t want the new regulations superseded by legislation that might be passed by Congress, said Steven Balis, a HUD attorney.

″It’s sufficiently difficult to issue any new instructions, let alone superimpose a new set within a few months,″ he said.

The Senate housing bill, which is expected to be debated on the floor next week, does not contain any language restricting the HUD ban on illegal aliens.

HUD officials are seeking some technical changes in the House provision when House-Senate conferees work out a compromise housing bill, said a Senate Banking Committee aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The department said it did not have an estimate of the number of illegal aliens living in public housing projects.

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