Untold thousands of illegal immigrants live in public housing at a time when hundreds of thousands of citizens and legal residents are stuck waiting years for a spot.
Illegal immigrants make up a tiny portion of the 7.1 million people in federal housing, according to government statistics. But authorities may be unaware of thousands more, and critics say no illegal immigrant should get housing benefits.
Some prospective tenants and advocates of immigration restrictions are angry about U.S. citizens waiting for housing aid that some number of illegal immigrants are enjoying.
New York City has about 260,000 people in line for housing aid. Chicago recently opened its waiting list for the first time in about 10 years and collected 259,000 names in four weeks for 40,000 slots.
"As long as that waiting list includes American citizens or legal immigrants, there's no reason an illegal alien should occupy any of that housing," said Rosemary Jenks, director of government relations for NumbersUSA, a group that supports curbs on immigration.
In San Diego, applicants are told they can expect to wait five to seven years. [Many illegal immigrants live in public housing , January 1, 2009]