Statement attributable to Luis Guardia, President, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2021 — The Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) is beyond pleased that the 2019 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) public charge rule has been blocked permanently nationwide. This exciting news comes on the heels of yesterday’s Department of Justice (DOJ) decision to stop defending the Trump-era public charge regulations and court dismissals of pending appeals by the U.S. Supreme Court and others.
FRAC applauds the Biden administration, our anti-hunger network and Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign partners, and the litigators and plaintiffs who have pushed back tirelessly against the Trump administration’s public charge policies that have resulted in a sicker, hungrier, and poorer nation.
The Trump administration rule essentially created an unnecessary wealth test and, for the first time, included in the test the use of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other key public benefits. This contributed to a “chilling effect” on participation in SNAP and other vital nutrition programs – even those not covered by the rule, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and other child nutrition programs – by eligible immigrants and their family members.
With the new DOJ and court action, DHS can no longer consider an individual’s use and potential use of SNAP, as a factor in a DHS public charge test. As immigrant families have been disproportionately hit by spikes in hunger rates stemming from the public health and economic fallout of COVID-19, the ability to access programs that safeguard their nutrition, health care, housing, and economic security without fear is particularly vital.
While much work remains to undo the fears and obstacles immigrant families face in accessing nutrition and food programs, this action is an essential step that propels our nation forward to a future where all families and individuals, regardless of immigration status, are nourished and healthy.
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.