'Public Charge' Rule Finalized

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The Trump administration last week finalized its "public charge" rule. The term refers to a person who is primarily dependent on the government for support. The new rule broadens the definition of who is considered a public charge to include immigrants who receive substantially less government assistance through programs such as housing assistance, food stamps or public health insurance. In comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before the rule was finalized, NAHB expressed concerns that changes to a proposed public charge rule that would redefine whether an immigrant is likely to become a public charge could have unintended consequences for the housing industry. For example, the proposed changes to the public charge rule would result in more visa denials and an overall decline in legal immigration. NAHB is concerned that a decrease in legal immigration would reduce the pool of legal immigrant labor in the construction industry at a time when there is a severe labor shortage, which in turn is raising costs and hurting housing affordability. NAHB is also concerned that the proposed public charge rule could also impact Section 8 housing programs and the NAHB members who work within these programs. While NAHB is still reviewing all aspects of the new rule, it retains the potential to adversely affect Section 8 housing programs. The final rule becomes effective Oct. 15. For more information, contact Amy Chai at 800-368-5242 x8232.

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