Study: President Trump’s Rhetoric is Causing Immigrants to Drop Out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

From the first moment he launched his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has launched a steady barrage of harsh, insulting rhetoric and comments at immigrants. Upon assuming office, several of his policies have caused tremendous harm to immigrant communities — most notably, the immoral move to separate families crossing the U.S./Mexico border.

The Trump Administration has also taken action to punish immigrants for using basic social services and prepared an unconstitutional attack on birthright citizenship. The rhetoric and anti-immigrant policy positions have resulted in damage.

In some cases, this harm has manifested itself in unexpected or underreported ways. Recently, Boston Medical Center’s Children’s HealthWatch released new data providing strong evidence that immigrants are suddenly forgoing nutritional benefits that are owed to them at a much higher rate than before President Trump assumed office.

Food Insecurity a Growing Problem in Immigrant Communities

Often referred to by the outdated shorthand term ‘food stamps’, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides much-needed nutritional benefits that primarily go to low-income families. Due to the structure of the program, the largest share of these benefits is granted to children who come from lower-income homes. Of course, though benefits are assigned to each needy child, the actual benefit is sent to the caretaker — generally the parents — of the child.

This is where the Boston Medical Center’s Children’s HealthWatch has discovered a concerning problem in our system. Many U.S.-born children — American citizens — live in houses with at least one immigrant parent. In places like Southern California, a large percentage of children have at least one undocumented parent. The worry is that the Trump Administration has made these parents so worried about harsh immigration enforcement that they are simply declining to apply for much needed nutritional benefits for their children.

This has long been a worry among immigration activists. Now, we have data that backs up their concerns. The study found that immigrant parents are dropping out of the SNAP program at four times the rate of U.S.-born parents. Just five years ago, there was parity in SNAP access between immigrant and non-immigrant households. Now, a considerable gap has grown. Notably, the more recently a parent arrived in the United States, the more likely Boston Medical Center’s Children’s HealthWatch finds that they are voluntarily dropping out of SNAP benefits — despite often still having eligibility to remain in the program.

Speak to a Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer Today

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are proud to fight for the rights of immigrants and their family members. If you need immigration law advice, please do not hesitate to reach out to our law firm today by calling today. Consultations are always fully confidential. With an office in the heart of Los Angeles, we serve communities throughout Southern California, including in San Bernardino County, Orange County, and Riverside County.