“What better way to give a boost to the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Act and the remaking of American neighborhoods than to start injecting illegal immigrant populations into targeted cities and towns in the suburbs all across the country?”
That was national radio talk show superhost Rush Limbaugh commenting on a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulation, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.”
“The concept, as it is properly understood, is to change the enforcement paradigm in order to allow the Department of Housing and Urban Development to essentially decide what every neighborhood in America should look like,” Limbaugh explained.
Limbaugh is right.
Under the regulation, in October the Obama administration will be empowered to condition eligibility for community development block grants on redrawing zoning maps to create evenly distributed neighborhoods based on racial composition and income.
And, apparently, if the National Council of La Raza is to be believed, the new rule will help millions of illegal immigrants resettle in communities across the U.S. According to La Raza’s comment in favor of the regulation, “Hispanic families often do not know their housing rights and have cited fear of deportation as reason for not reporting rights violations.”
In the meantime, a trial run for implementing the rulemaking has already begun in Westchester County, N.Y., Limbaugh noted.
“You people in Westchester County in New York know exactly what I’m talking about because there is a huge lawsuit going on right now over just this,” the host said.
Again, Limbaugh is right.
In Westchester, HUD has attempted to rezone the area along racial and income guidelines as a condition for receiving millions in the block grants.
County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican, is fighting back, however, and rejected the receipt of $5 million of grants from 2012.
Westchester lost out on some $7 million of grants from 2011 for the same reason.
“It is unfortunate that HUD, which claims to champion the needy, once again is threatening to withhold funds for affordable housing,” said Astorino spokesman Ned McCormack in April. “But the county is not going to turn over control of the local zoning of its six cities, 19 towns and 20 villages to bureaucrats in Washington for $5 million in grants.”
HUD has been demanding that the county build 750 units of affordable housing in 31 more affluent communities.
Now, Astorino, who is running for governor this year against Andrew Cuomo, is challenging in federal court the legal basis under which HUD can do this.
At a July 13 town hall meeting, Astorino reminded residents that when HUD brought its case against the county, “the deputy secretary of HUD said at the time Westchester is a test case for the rest of the country.”
Sure enough, in 2009, Ron Sims, deputy secretary at HUD, said, “We’re clearly messaging other jurisdictions across the country that there has been a significant change in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and we’re going to ask them to pursue similar goals as well,” adding that Westchester “can serve as a model for building strong, inclusive sustainable communities in suburban areas across the entire United States.”
Astorino explained the effect of the rule: “The federal government’s saying that if you live in a community that is disproportionately white, then therefore there is discrimination and segregation. And, as such, the local community and/or the Justice Department needs to come in and do away with a lot of the zoning regulations that they feel restricts high density housing in any neighborhood.”
Yikes. Can you say racial housing quotas?
But it gets worse than that. Astorino continued, “They have already said that quarter acre… single family residential zoning is potentially discriminatory, and what they would do is take away any restrictions that limit height, density, acreage, [and] number of bedrooms — in any community.”
Which means, Astorino said, “if you live in that quarter acre or half acre residential neighborhood, the federal government is saying that a 13-story apartment building could be right in the middle of it, government-subsidized, because there needs to be equal mix, in their view, of ethnicity, of race, of income, etc.”
With implementation of the HUD rule set to go into effect in October that means there is not a moment to lose. This is coming to a neighborhood near you.
The House of Representatives has already acted, passing an amendment to the Transportation and HUD appropriations bill by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz) in a close 219 to 207 vote to defund implementation of the regulation. In the Senate, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has proposed the same amendment.
Yet so far, Senate Republicans have not presented a united front in favor of the Lee amendment and against the HUD action. They may want to do so before the rule is implemented in October. Once it is implemented, like so many eternal government programs, it may be too late to stop it.
Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.