Michigan House Republicans
Rep. Bruck: Whitmer admin’s dangerous policy offers housing subsidies to illegal immigrants
RELEASE|April 4, 2024
Contact: William Bruck

State Rep. Will Bruck today sounded the alarm about a dangerous policy put in place by the governor that is exacerbating the problems created by failing federal immigration policies.

The Newcomer Rental Subsidy Program offers benefits to people who enter the country illegally but later claim asylum after facing deportation. Various immigrant households can receive up to $500 a month in rental assistance for 12 months under the program. The criteria even allow individuals with a pending asylum application to receive support, including people who came into the United States illegally and then filed a defensive asylum application as a tactic in removal proceedings. Defensive claims comprised 97% of total asylum claims filed in fiscal year 2023, according to data from the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Supporting illegal aliens with taxpayer dollars sends the wrong message – that breaking the law is rewarded,” said Bruck, R-Erie. “Every dollar spent to incentivize illegal immigration is a disservice to those who immigrate lawfully and contribute to the prosperity of our state and our nation. Our tax dollars should be invested in opportunities that strengthen our communities, not programs that enable misuse of the system.”

Last week, House Republicans sent a letter requesting data about benefit recipients, including how many defensive asylum seekers have received assistance. The letter also raised concerns about loopholes in the employment criteria that allow recipients to avoid the work requirements. Additionally, loopholes in the income criteria offer benefits to individuals earning more than the income caps if they reside in certain qualified census tracts, and applicants can avoid providing proof of income if they’re receiving cash payments, something that seems geared toward accommodating under-the-table work.

Identity verification requirements also contain concerning loopholes. An applicant must provide some form of photo ID, but the options include an “alternate identification document” and any “government-issued identification document,” even as some local governments, such as Kalamazoo County, issue IDs for illegal immigrants.

Bruck said bad actors with a pending asylum application could exploit the sweeping criteria in the subsidy program and divert funds from people in need, including refugees and other immigrants who came to the United States the right way.

“Offering taxpayer-funded housing to those who exploit asylum laws undermines the integrity of our immigration system, disregarding the hardships faced by both law-abiding citizens and legitimate refugees who follow the proper immigration process,” Bruck said.

Bruck said Whitmer’s program is contributing to the border security crisis perpetuated by the Biden administration. The crisis has reared its head in Michigan with two murders committed by illegal aliens in Kent County in the last year, including a brutal killing last month, and three illegal immigrants arrested in Shiawassee County this year for soliciting sex with minors.

The Newcomer Rental Subsidy program is administered by Whitmer’s Office of Global Michigan and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The agencies are using funds from the Housing and Community Development Fund (HCDF), which supports a variety of state housing programs. Last year, Democrats passed a controversial tax law along nearly party lines that will automatically deposit $50 million in tax revenues into the HCDF every year going forward.

After receiving the letter from House Republicans last week, Office of Global Michigan Director Poppy Sias-Hernandez replied that the office would provide answers by close of business on Monday, but lawmakers still have not received the promised response.


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