Speaker DeLeo Meets with Representative Cullinane to Discuss Welfare Reform Legislation

In his first meeting since returning from Israel, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo met with State Representative Dan Cullinane to discuss how housing immigration restrictions in the pending welfare legislation would adversely impact many immigrants who are lawfully present in the United States – including a significant amount of Haitian immigrants who moved to the United States in part due to the catastrophic 2010 earthquake. 

Representative Cullinane has taken the lead on the issue in the House authoring a letter to members of the House and Senate Conference Committee urging that the harmful language be removed from the final legislation. Twenty-one house members have joined Cullinane in signing on to this letter.

“This is an incredibly important issue to the people of my district, especially for the Haitian community who entrusted me to be their voice in the House of Representatives. I am grateful to Speaker DeLeo for meeting with me to discuss my concerns.” Cullinane said, “I look forward to continuing to lobby my colleagues and members of the conference committee urging the removal of this language from the final bill.”

House Bill 3756 Section 16A and Senate Bill 1806 Section 27E would effectively deny state subsidized housing to individuals and families who are lawfully present in the United States but do not meet the narrow non-citizen requirements for federally subsidized housing.

Those who would be kept out of state housing under these provisions include:

  • Persons granted Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) from Haiti, El Salvador, Syria, South Sudan and a few other countries to which our federal government deemed it unsafe for them to return. Massachusetts is home to the third largest Haitian population of any state, and we have a substantial population of TPS holders from Haiti, including survivors of the 2010 earthquake — some of whom our own government evacuated in the aftermath

  • Children who are U.S. Citizens and whose parents do not fit into one of the limited federal categories

  • Battered Spouses and children who are self-petitioners under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and have not yet received their green cards

  • Active Duty Soldiers, as well as spouses and family members, whose immigration status is not among those listed in the federal housing law, veterans who do not hold an eligible status, and spouses and family members of military personnel who died during active duty fighting for the U.S. who do not hold and eligible status

  • Victims of serious crimes who hold or are petitioning for a U visa because they are assisting investigation and prosecution of those crimes

  • DREAMer youth brought to the United States as children and now finally able to receive a status known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as a result of the Department of Homeland Security’s provision of this new status in 2012.