Statement attributable to Luis Guardia, President, Food Research & Action Center
WASHINGTON, February 4, 2021 — The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) commends President Biden for signing Tuesday’s Executive Order that paves the way for undoing the harms of the Trump administration’s draconian public charge rules.
These rules have deterred millions of immigrants from seeking desperately needed nutrition, health, and housing assistance and led to a hungrier, sicker, and poorer nation.
Hunger in this country has spiked dramatically as a result of the public health and economic fallout of COVID-19, and things would be far worse if not for federal nutrition programs. Through this Executive Order, the Biden administration is signaling its commitment to ensuring that all families in need are able to benefit from these programs as this crisis continues and beyond.
In partnership with Protecting Immigrant Families, Advancing Our Future Campaign, FRAC and its network of thousands of grassroots anti-hunger advocates have been calling for a reversal of the public charge rules that have fueled decreased participation among eligible families in vital programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid. The harmful ripple effects of these rules extend to the health and well-being of families as well as local economies.
Under the Executive Order, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of State (DOS), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have been asked to review the 2019 public charge rules, evaluate the current effects of the rules, and take action to address the policies’ effect on our immigration system and public health within 60 days. While it does not immediately rescind the rules, the Executive Order will hold DHS, DOS, and DOJ accountable to review the rules and take appropriate actions within this time period. To reduce the chilling impact of the public charge rules, the Executive Order also instructs the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, to recommend steps that relevant agencies should take to clearly communicate current public charge policies.
FRAC looks forward to supporting the administration as it works to rescind the public charge rules and issue clear messaging to remove confusion, chaos, and fear created by these rules so that immigrants can access vital nutrition, health, and housing programs.
FRAC salutes the Biden administration for signaling its commitment to reversing these rules, sending a clear message that hunger and poverty are unacceptable and should not be a reality for anyone living in this country.
For 50 years, the Food Research & Action Center has been the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States. To learn more, visit FRAC.org and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.