LANSING, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – Michigan’s Newcomer Rental Subsidy program, introduced by Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s administration, is facing scrutiny from House Republican Leader Matt Hall (R-Richland Twp.) and Housing Subcommittee Republican Vice Chair Joe Aragona (R-Clinton Township).

This initiative provides rent assistance to immigrant households, including those who have entered the country illegally and subsequently applied for asylum. Under this program, eligible individuals can receive up to $500 per month in rental assistance for a maximum of 12 months.

Program launched in October.

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We first reported on this program in October of last year and the story has gone viral nationally in the past few months, with opponents highlighting loopholes in the program and objecting to taxpayer dollars used for non-American citizens.

Hall and Aragona have raised concerns about the program, particularly regarding its potential to incentivize illegal immigration and the initiatives’ perceived lack of accountability. They argue that taxpayer-funded benefits should not be extended to individuals who have violated immigration laws.

Loopholes will allow ineligible individuals to receive assistance.

Additionally, they question the effectiveness of the program’s employment and income criteria, highlighting loopholes that could allow ineligible individuals to receive assistance.

The lawmakers sent a letter to the Office of Global Michigan (OGM), which oversees the program, requesting data on benefit recipients and expressing concerns about identity verification requirements.

Despite assurances from OGM Director Poppy Sias-Hernandez that answers would be provided promptly, the legislators have yet to receive a response according to communications with Michigan News Source on Tuesday.

Program has potential to be exploited.

Hall and Aragona assert that the program’s broad criteria may be exploited by individuals with pending asylum applications, diverting resources from legitimate refugees and immigrants.

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They argue that such misuse undermines the integrity of the immigration system and disadvantages those who have followed legal procedures.

“Fake” asylum-seekers will be able to access program.

“Our system is bogged down with fake asylum-seekers,” said Aragona. “There are many people who are here as refugees because it’s dangerous for them to go back. But fake asylum seekers are just taking advantage of a legal loophole, and they could now be getting their housing paid. That’s not fair to American citizens, that’s not fair to refugees who immigrated legally to escape danger, and that’s not fair to families who are struggling to pay their own bills.”

The controversy surrounding Michigan’s Newcomer Rental Subsidy program has been amplified by media outlets who are framing it as part of a broader political narrative around illegal immigration and the abundance of taxpayer-funded resources that they have been receiving.