Latest News, Local News, International News, US Politics, Economy

Not All Undocumented People in California Will Be Able to Benefit From the State’s Proposal to Provide Food Aid!

California is about to become the first state in the country to give undocumented immigrants food stamps. But those who support it say it’s not enough.

The state legislature passed a budget bill on Monday that includes a proposal from Gov. Gavin Newsom to let immigrants age 55 and up who are not allowed to get food stamps to get them.

Food4All is a coalition that wants to give more food aid to all immigrants, no matter how old they are or what their status is. They say that while the proposal is a step toward their long-term goal, it leaves behind most low-income undocumented immigrants.

We need to be able to take care of an entire family. Betzel Estudillo, a senior advocate with Nourish California, a nonprofit in Oakland, said, “It’s not fair to keep some family members from getting food assistance.

The expansion will happen in the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which is like food stamps but is paid for by the state. It helps immigrants with low incomes who are not eligible for the CalFresh programme, which is paid for by the federal government.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office says that about 35,000 legal immigrants, mostly new green card holders, get food benefits from CFAP worth an average of $165 per month. People who came to the country illegally as children or who were given temporary legal status because their countries were at war or had a natural disaster are not eligible for the programme.

First in the Nation

Benyamin Chao, a health and public benefits analyst with the California Immigrant Policy Center, said that if the governor’s plan goes through, California will be the first state in the country to remove restrictions on food assistance programs for undocumented residents over the age of 55.

An analysis done in February by the nonpartisan Legislative Analysts’ Office shows that the age-restricted food assistance expansion will help about 75,000 people by 2025-26.

Monday, the Legislature passed a budget for 2022–2023 that includes $35 million to prepare for the expansion. By 2025–2026, that amount could grow to $113.4 million. It could take a few years for all eligible immigrants to get benefits.

After the state Senate passed a bill in 2021, Senate President Toni Atkins‘ office backed a plan last month to use $284 million to give immigrants of all ages more benefits in the 2023-24 budget year. But the Assembly didn’t move on that bill, and the full expansion didn’t make it into the budget deal that lawmakers made.

Even though lawmakers and Newsom will continue to talk about how to settle some budget differences, the age limit is likely to stay.

Chao said this month, “It breaks my heart to know that this proposal will continue to leave out undocumented children and adults under the age of 55, who are finding it harder and harder to feed their families well because of rising food prices and a lack of baby formula.”

READ MORE: Food Stamps Schedule: Food Stamps Benefits for November 2022 in Florida and Where to Get Snap Ebt Discounts!

When asked this month if the governor would consider making CFAP available to undocumented people of all ages, a spokesman for the governor’s office sent an email saying that California has made “historic investments” for immigrant families.

“Governor Newsom is building on these investments by proposing to make Medi-Cal available to everyone who qualifies, no matter what their immigration status is, and to give food assistance to everyone who qualifies who is 55 years old or older,” a spokesperson wrote.

Advocates pointed out that the state had a budget surplus of almost $100 billion.

“We were sad that we didn’t get any more money, especially since we have a record budget surplus,” Estudillo said.

Undocumented and Food Insecure: Who’s at Risk?

A report from the “Food4All” coalition says that 45% of all undocumented immigrants live in homes that don’t have enough food. Children are in the most danger.

People under 26 are more likely to be hungry, but they would not be able to get food benefits under the likely expansion.

Nourish California says that a full expansion of CFAP would have made food assistance available to between 690,000 and 840,000 more Californians, including people over 55. The coalition thinks that would have cost close to $550 million a year.

“We want to make sure that people can feed themselves and their families and don’t have to choose between paying rent, putting gas in their car, and feeding their families,” Estudillo said.

READ MORE: Food Stamps Schedule: Food Stamps Benefits for November 2022 in Florida and Where to Get Snap Ebt Discounts!

Not everyone agrees that the best way to deal with food insecurity is to give CFAP benefits to undocumented people in California.

In a statement, Susan Shelley, who is the vice president of communications for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said that food insecurity is a sign of policies that haven’t worked.

“When the cost of living is taken into account, California has the highest poverty rate of any state,” she said. “The governor and state lawmakers should be held responsible for all the laws, regulations, policies, and taxes that are driving job-creating businesses out of California or keeping them from coming here in the first place.”

Shelley also said that food insecurity would be reduced if the state built the water storage projects that voters agreed to pay for in 2014.

We Just Need to Do It

The Food4All coalition says that it will keep trying to get food benefits for everyone.

“Our work will never be done until everyone, no matter their immigration status, has access to a food safety net,” said Estudillo.

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, a Democrat whose district includes Downtown and East Los Angeles, said this month that he is “still optimistic” that the state will fully expand the program in the future.

He said that could happen in steps, like how the state’s health program for the poor, Medi-Cal, has grown. In May, the state made it possible for immigrants 50 years or older to get Medi-Cal coverage. Another idea that is in both Newsom’s budget plan and the budget deal made by the legislature is that immigrants between the ages of 26 and 49 will be able to sign up for Medi-Cal starting in 2024.

READ MORE: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Snap) Benefits: How to Apply for Food Stamp Benefits?

Santiago said that there is “general support” in the Legislature for expanding full food benefits.

The full expansion of food benefits was part of the budget deal that Assembly and Senate leaders made last year, but it did not make it into the final budget.

Santiago said, “The good news is that it’s a step in the right direction.” “This is a fight that will last for sure years.”

This article is part of the California Divide project, which is a group of newsrooms working together to look at income inequality and how people in California make a living.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.