Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson encountered Democrats ‘ severe criticism on Tuesday as he raised concerns at a Capitol Hill meeting about a suggested rule shift that would strip illegal immigrants of government residential help.

Democratic representatives of the House Financial Services Committee criticized President Trump’s residential secretary in a heated session with HUD Secretary Ben Carson for what they called an inhuman and unsuccessful suggestion to expel undocumented persons from state accommodation.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney had some of the most severe grilling, claiming that Carson’s plan “would bring nothing but despair to thousands of American families,” according to Fox News.

“Quite frankly, I find it despicable,” Maloney said of the plan, which would eliminate government aid for families with members who are in the U.S. illegally, even if other family members, such as children, are citizens or legal residents. A HUD study found roughly 25,000 households are in this situation, including approximately 55,000 children with legal status.

“Your plan to create vacancies by making 55,000 American children homeless is among the most damaging proposals I have ever seen,” Maloney said during the House Financial Services Committee hearing. “Where will they live?” she asked, wondering if Carson would have them stay in cages on the border.

Carson was quick to defend and explain the proposal, which he said addressed Maloney’s concern.

“If you read the rule carefully,” he said, “you will see that it provides a six-month deferral on request, if they have not found another place to live.” Carson said that deferral can then be renewed twice, “for a total of 18 months, which is plenty of time for Congress to engage in comprehensive immigration reform so that this becomes a moot point.”

Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., also commented on the proposal during her opening statement, calling it “cruel,” and “inconsistent with HUD’s mission.”

The proposition states that current legislation prevents the state from illegally offering residential help to those in the nation and enables Carson to remove anybody who receives it incorrectly from help.

The present scheme allows blended immigration status households to obtain a prorated quantity of help for people or legal inhabitants. Carson said while these households are receiving help, there are other households— where each participant is legally in the nation— who have to spend years on a waiting list to get help. He observed that this involves “hundreds of thousands of children,” not to mention the elderly and the handicapped.

“If in fact you want to explain to the American citizens who have been on the wait list for several years in your district in New York why we should continue to support families who are not here legally, I would be happy to join you in helping explain that to them,” Carson told Maloney.

Most of the affected families reside in New York, California, and Texas, according to the HUD analysis.

President Trump unveiled a proposal for immigration reform that Democrats immediately shot down last week, and it is unlikely that lawmakers will reach an agreement with the White House on the signing issue of the president before the election.