News Update Sep 24th, 2018

September 24, 2018: Multiple Challenges to Ending Hunger as Trump Administration Attacks Needy Immigrants With New Public Charge Proposals

September 24, 2018: Just this past weekend, the Trump administration introduced something they’ve threatened since early last year: their proposal for new rules to change the guidance for “Public Charge.” If these new proposed rules were passed, it would mean that many immigrant families lawfully present here may drop out of programs they need such as CalFresh because their receipt of these benefits may be used against them later as they try to upgrade their immigration status. (It’s important to remember these rules have a long way to go before being finalized and going into effect, and could change drastically, especially if we all comment on them.)

At the same time, our California Governor signed AB 2178, which would make groups doing voluntary, charitable provision of food, for free, to poor people, a crime unless groups registered and paid a fee to the local county health agency.

That kind of food provision would be one of the only avenues open to immigrant families who would avoid government food assistance (if the proposed Public Charge rules pass.) Federal and state government will have issued a double blow against people who want to end hunger.

Again, please remember the new anti-immigrant rules have not been approved yet they have to be officially published first, and after that would follow a period of 60 days in which we the people can flood them with comments. We do expect this to happen very soon though. Be ready with your comments! More details below.

  1. Trump Administration Attacks Needy Immigrants With New Public Charge Proposals
  2. Governor Signs Bill Requiring Volunteer Groups Feeding Hungry People to Register and Pay Fees: AB 2178

Trump Administration Attacks Needy Immigrants With New Public Charge Proposals

This past Saturday, the Trump administration made available their new proposals for Public Charge. That’s the procedure used to determine if they will upgrade the status of immigrants who are trying to become “legal permanent residents (green card)” based on whether they’ve used public benefits (cash aid, SNAP, housing aid, health care programs.) If the Department of Homeland Security thinks you’ve used benefits too much and won’t be self sufficient, they’ll deny you the upgraded status.

For the past twenty years, only cash aid (such as CalWORKs) or long term medical care have been used as the basis for “public charge”. The new proposals from the Trump administration would expand that list to include food aid (CalFresh here), as well as Medi-Cal and some other things not considered before.

Under the new proposals, benefits received by your children wouldn’t affect your status. However, if your children are also not yet green card holders or citizens, any benefits they get as kids could impact them later as adults. This could have a disastrous impact on the lives of young children, as childhood hunger dramatically affects the future economic performance of individuals, as proven in long term studies on recipients of food assistance programs.

Some important things to remember:

  • These are proposals, and not yet new rules. They must be published on the federal register first, and then follows a period of 60 days during which the public is invited to comment. We expect these rules to be published soon; they may already contain changes from what was published Saturday.
  • These rules would apply to people applying to upgrade from immigrants here temporarily , to legal permanent residents. They would not apply to people who already hold green cards who are wanting to become citizens.
  • This proposed change WILL NOT impact anyone who has used public benefits before this rule becomes final. For more info on the proposed change, please visit our coalition partners:
  • The changes are cruel and have the effect of preventing families from re-unifying. Family values are community values. Having intact families is as important to a stable community as having wealth. The new rules basically prioritize wealthy immigrants, and disproportionately would keep brown people from becoming residents.
  • Stay tuned for the actual publication of the proposed changes and be ready with comments to post during the 60 day commenting period.

Governor Signs Bill Requiring Volunteer Groups Feeding Hungry People to Register and Pay Fees: AB 2178

On the same day that the Governor signed AB 626, allowing people to SELL home cooked food (a bill worthy of signature), he also signed AB 2178 which would put restrictions on those SHARING food in public, and would essentially FORBID the sharing of home cooked food (as food would have to be prepared in a commercial kitchen.) Volunteers sharing food with the poor will have to register, and pay fees to the local environmental health agency.

While we are preparing an organized response to this bill, it is another cruel irony in that voluntary feeding for ages touted by anti-government conservatives as the only legitimate way to help people—is now being restricted at the same time as the White House is proposing rules that if approved will strongly discourage immigrants from getting public assistance. With neither public nor private benefits available, immigrants facing hard times getting enough food in a city with sky high rents, will be truly hungry.

Please connect with us if you are interested in measures we can take to counteract this new law or its effects: [email protected]

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