Advocacy allows those who are interested to make a special contribution in creating awareness about hunger issues affecting our community.
Say ‘No’ to the Proposed ‘Public Charge’ Rule
The proposed Public Charge regulation would expand the current definition of a public charge and would harm hard-working immigrant families and individuals for seeking food assistance, but with your help – we can prevent this from happening.
The long-standing public charge test is designed to identify individuals who are likely to be unable to take care of themselves without relying on certain kinds of assistance such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). If deemed a public charge, a person can be denied entry to the U.S. or a legal permanent residence (green card).
The proposed regulations greatly expand public charge to include key health, nutrition and housing benefits like Medicaid, SNAP (also known as CalFresh) Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy, and housing assistance such as public housing or Section 8 housing vouchers and rental assistance. There is also the possibility that the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) could be included. Under the proposed expansion anyone receiving these key benefits would be deemed a public charge and it could count against their immigration status.
SNAP/CalFresh is the only nutrition program (food assistance) listed in the public charge expansion. This program helps lift more than 4 million Californians out of poverty. Many people depend on nutrition assistance provided by SNAP/CalFresh for the food they desperately need. Those few dollars can make the difference between having enough to eat and going hungry.
The proposed rule has already had a chilling effect within our community and nationwide. Many are foregoing these types of assistance out of fear of losing their legal pathway to stay in this country, even though missed meals put their and their children’s health at risk. In fact, the government’s own analysis of the proposed rule states that foregoing enrollment in these public benefits that they would otherwise be eligible for could lead to:
There is much fear among our county’s immigrant population and even though accepting food assistance from Second Harvest and its community partners does not jeopardize residency status, many are staying away and accepting all the health risks associated with going hungry.
The public – you – have just a short while to comment on the rule. Comments are due on or before December 10th. Click here to submit your comments against this harmful expansion of the public charge rule.
You can find public comment templates here.
For more information, you can visit:
Did you know that there are more than 290,000 people, including 1 in 6 children, in our community who don’t know where their next meal is coming from? The more you know about hunger, the more you can help friends and neighbors understand the issues.
If you are interested in knowing more about hunger in Orange County, read our Hunger in America 2014 SHFBOC Summary to find out how hunger affects individuals and families. It provides an eye-opening look at all ways that hunger affects individuals and families.
Click on the links below to find out more about the many other ways you can work to end hunger.
California Food Policy Advocates – has lots of information on legislation affecting funding for hunger programs.
Food Research & Action Center – information from the national perspective.
California Association of Food Banks – will keep you updated on what food banks statewide are doing about hunger in California.
Volunteer Ambassadors are a specially-trained group of dedicated volunteers who help Second Harvest engage the community by serving as representatives of Second Harvest at fairs, speaking engagements, food and fund drives, children’s tour hosts, and various other community events which occur during regular business hours, at night, and on the weekends.
Ambassadors educate the community about the hunger problem, Second Harvest’s mission and our impact in Orange County. Serving as an Ambassador is a great way to learn more about the issue of hunger, and meet new people all while serving the community!