HUD Secretary Ben Carson reacted to Democratic New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s insinuation that he should break immigration law by providing housing assistance to illegal immigrants.
Carson made his comments during a Tuesday night appearance on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” Earlier that day, the HUD secretary was criticized by Democrats, including Maloney, for a White House proposal that would exclude all illegal immigrants from public housing, even those who currently live with a U.S. citizen.
“The ‘D’ in HUD does not stand for ‘deportation,'” Maloney told Carson during Tuesday’s House Financial Services Committee testimony. “We cannot create affordable housing for Americans by throwing other Americans out in the street with no place to go.”
“As you well know, Congresswoman Maloney called your proposal, quote, ‘despicable,’ but it’s my understanding that it’s illegal for illegal aliens to be living in public housing in the first place, is it not?” Carlson asked.
“That’s correct,” Carson responded. “Section 214 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980 specifically states that the secretary of HUD is prohibited from providing housing assistance to people who are in the country illegally. And what people sometimes don’t understand is that we have millions of legal Americans in line waiting for these very scarce resources.”
Carson reiterated the fact that the proposal can be delayed by up to 18 months in order to give Congress time to “do its job:”
So, you know, for them to suggest that I should break the law, what is the real implication? That we can just pick and choose the laws we want to enforce and embrace? Of course, we feel sympathy for people. Of course we don’t want anybody out on the streets. But, the real thing that is hurting people is our failure to address this immigration system. The rules that are drawing people here and keeping them here and that are so unfair to American citizens who have been paying taxes and working here. We take in 1.1 million people legally through our immigration system, which is far more than any other country, and let that system work. But it can’t work when we have perverse incentives which are drawing people here.
Tucker and Carson discussed the numerous American citizens needing housing and the impracticality of helping others when our own house isn’t in order. (RELATED: Tucker: Democrats Oppose Trump’s Immigration Plan Because They Want To Import Serfs)
“Obviously we need to take care of our people,” said Carson. “It doesn’t mean that we are not compassionate people. It means we are logical people, and let’s take care of our people. I’m very happy. I told the congresswoman and others, if you can find a way that I can legally do what you want me to do please tell me what it is. I’m all ears.”
“How did she respond?” asked Carlson.
“Changed the subject, of course,” Carson responded. “They don’t seem to want to deal with the idea that Congress is the one who makes the laws. Instead they would rather just say to you, ‘Why don’t you break the law so that we can feel good about ourselves?’ Why don’t they do their jobs? That’s what they were elected to do.”
Carlson noted the irony of a lawmaker pressuring someone to “break the law” instead of trying to change it.