by Eric Galatas
Children’s advocates are sounding the alarm about a recent proposal by the Trump administration that would make it easier to deny immigrants green cards by expanding the definition of what it means to be a “public charge,” or dependent on government programs.
Anya Rose, policy analyst with Hunger Free Colorado, said some families are choosing not to apply for food and nutritional benefits out of fear. In response, her group is reminding Coloradans that the only food program that could be impacted if the new rule goes into effect is SNAP, or food stamps, and many other services are still available without risk.
“So that includes WIC – women, infants and children – free and reduced-price lunches or breakfast at school and food pantries,” Rose said. “It would also include meal sites like soup kitchens, or after-school snacks and suppers.”
Rose added if children are currently getting food stamp benefits, that will not count against their parents’ green card applications.
The Trump administration claims the new rule would promote self-sufficiency and preserve public funds. Public comments on the rule must be received before December 10 at Regulations.gov.
If you have questions about how to access food for you or your family, call the toll-free Food Resource Hotline, (855) 855-4626. It’s a confidential service available in English and Spanish statewide.
Rose said food stamps have a long track record for helping people become self-sufficient, and she noted most immigrants who qualify would not be subject to a public charge test because there are already strict rules about who can receive benefits.
“These programs are pretty good at making people less likely to depend on government assistance in the future,” she said. “Food stamps is a good public investment. We know that it improves economic and health and educational outcomes down the line.”
Rose noted when applying for food stamps, you’re only required to provide information about people in your family that are eligible. You don’t have to provide agencies with your immigration status if you’re not eligible. The public-charge test would not apply to people who already have a green card, people who entered the U.S. as a refugee, people granted asylum or a visa as a victim of trafficking or domestic violence.
Public News Service – CO
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