Why Immigrants are Turning Down Government Assistance

According to a report in The Washington Post, immigrants, both documented and undocumented, are increasingly turning down government assistance. The primary reason for this is out of fear that they, or their loved ones, will face deportation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Trump Administration. Fears of deportation have been on the rise in response to the fact that U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE) has been ramping up immigration raids. Here, our immigration attorney in Los Angeless explain what is going on and the implications for immigrants in our region.

Undocumented Parents are Afraid to Collect Benefits Owed to Their Children

Undocumented Immigrants and Government Assistance

Are undocumented immigrants actually entitled to collect government benefits? Ultimately, the answer to this politically contentious question depends. Certainly, undocumented immigrants cannot collect assistance in the way that many immigration opponents wrongfully lead people to believe. However, undocumented immigrants can collect benefits that are owed to their American citizen children. Additionally, many documented immigrants are afraid to collect their benefits because they have a loved one who is undocumented.

Mixed-Status Families are the Norm

Few people realize how common mixed immigration-status families are in our country, particularly in Southern California. Indeed, the Public Policy Institute of California reports that half of all children in this state have at least one immigrant parent. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offers benefits to low income families desperately in need of food security. These benefits are tied to the children, many of whom are American citizens, but who have undocumented parents.

Meals for Millions of Children Are At-Risk

In 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture reported that there were 3.9 million children who were themselves American citizens, but who were living under the care of a noncitizen adult, who collected SNAP benefits. Of course, a young child cannot collect those benefits on their own. Their parent or caretaker must oversee the process of actually getting the benefits, shopping for food, and cooking the meals. Sadly, in the early days of the Trump Administration, with rising fears of ICE raids, many undocumented families are now forgoing food stamps for their children out of fear of deportation raids. This is a true tragedy.  

Educational and Medical Benefits Are At Stake As Well

Many children are also losing out on important medical benefits. There are reports that some children who qualify for Medicaid will not receive treatment because their parents are afraid of being deported. Children may even be held out of school because of fear of ICE raids. As California State Senator Kevin De Leon wrote in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the federal government: “Communities are being disrupted due to fear of raids and deportation.”

We Support Immigrants in Los Angeles County

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our team has extensive experience handling a wide array of different immigration-related issues. For immediate assistance with your case, please call us today. We proudly serve immigrants in communities throughout Southern California, including in Downey, Beverly Hills, Cerritos and Santa Monica.