Are immigrants afraid of applying for food stamps?

Less people are applying for food stamp benefits, and the fear of deportation is a contributing reason (June 9, 2017)

Immigrants fearing deportation might be skipping out on food stamp benefits. 

More than four million Californians receive CalFresh benefits, which is what the state calls food stamps. But, more people may be eligible -- and not applying.

Kishwer Vikaas, an attorney at the Coalition of California Welfare Rights Organizations, said applying for federal benefits remains the status quo.

“The laws have not changed when it comes to privacy of individuals who apply for public benefits," Vikaas said. "For us as advocates, there are not enough people applying." 

Hundreds of thousands of Californians may be eligible for food stamps and haven't applied. And that number may be compounded by President Donald Trump's illegal immigration enforcement, according to the Associated Press.

Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for federal benefits such as food stamps, but the state notes that documented immigrant children qualify "regardless of where the parents are born." 

According to CalFresh data from the state's Department of Social Services, food stamp applications actually increased more than 15 percent between November 2016 and January 2017:

In other words, it's worth taking a look at the application

"They should apply, apply, apply to see if they are eligible," she said.  

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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