In January, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced his plan to spend $100 million to provide coverage to Big Apple residents lacking health insurance, nearly half of whom are illegal immigrants. With the State of New York now guaranteeing immigration violators access to in-state college tuition, the mayor has found another way to reward illegal aliens with a piece of the city’s budgetary pie.
At a time when about 14 percent of the nation’s homeless population resides within the five boroughs, de Blasio thinks it’s a grand idea to make it easier for an estimated 725,000 illegal aliens who also live in Gotham to get subsidized housing. In fact, he believes rewarding illegal immigrants makes it a “fairer” system.
Taking a break from his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, de Blasio insisted that he was “creating a fairer system for all New Yorkers” by doing away with a requirement that applicants for subsidized housing have a good credit history and provide either a Social Security or a taxpayer identification number, which most illegal immigrants possess.
In 2018, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which oversees the highly-competitive housing lotteries, told landlords a poor credit score could no longer be used as the sole reason to reject an application.
While the change was intended to “level the playing field” for low-income New Yorkers, the sad irony is that the city’s decision could act as a disincentive for real estate developers to build more affordable housing units.
“They want to make sure the tenants they do get are able to pay the bills, so we want them to have the assurance of a good credit score, and by taking that off the table, we will discourage developers from participating in the mayor’s signature housing program,” says Manhattan Institute scholar Howard Husock.
So, what is the real goal of the new lottery requirements?
According to news outlet NY1, City officials freely admit that opposition to the Trump administration’s immigration policies spurred the change. Illegal aliens tend to be at the lower end of the economic spectrum and, therefore, candidates for subsidized housing when it is made available to them.
Ana Nuñez of the nonprofit Churches United For Fair Housing delightedly boasts that the changes will “completely opens the floodgates” to illegal immigrants getting subsidized housing.
How is it fair to allow nearly 800,000 more people – who have absolutely no right to be in the United States – to enter a housing lottery where participants currently face a 1-in-600 chance of securing an apartment? The answer is that it is not fair at all.
And it will be law-abiding U.S. citizen and legal immigrant New Yorkers who could have their hope of affordable housing washed away when they are forced to compete with illegal aliens. Those who do not get selected in the housing lottery will face rents in the private market that are out of reach and getting more so.
A report from NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer released earlier this summer found that rents in the city continue to rise. According to a digital “Affordability index” published by Stringer, the median rent rose on average by 4 percent per year, which works out to a 61 percent rent hike between 2005 and 2017 for someone in a one-bedroom apartment.
City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) was more frank in his criticism of giving illegal immigrants the same shot as legal residents and native New Yorkers to realize their dream of getting an apartment.
“It’s just the latest idiotic idea to come out of this administration. The mayor is setting up people to fail and is doing a disservice to New Yorkers who desperately need affordable housing,” he told the New York Post.