Food Stamp Usage by Newly Arrived Immigrants Drops 10 Percent

After 10 years of consistent gains, the number of immigrant families enrolled in SNAP fell by 10 percent in 2018.

Some families are choosing not to participate in the federal benefit programs out of fear that it could impact their immigration status.

Secretary of Homeland Security Nielsen said in a statement that the policy change would “promote immigrant self-sufficiency” and ensure that they “are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers.”

Allison Bovell-Ammon: “We think that these policies are forcing immigrants to choose between feeding their children today and what their future immigration status may be.”


Food stamp usage by newly arrived legal immigrants has dropped by about 10 percent, research reveals, as President Trump is expected to enact new legal immigration controls.

survey by Children’s HealthWatch reveals that enrollment for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has dropped by roughly 10 percent among legal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. five years ago or sooner.

Researchers say foreign-born women with children in the U.S. are taking “extreme caution” before enrolling on food stamps due to a new plan by the Trump administration that is expected to be implemented within the next year.

Those upcoming legal immigration controls include protecting American taxpayers’ dollars from funding the mass importation of welfare-dependent foreign nationals by enforcing a “public charge” rule where legal immigrants would be less likely to secure a permanent residency in the U.S. if they have used any forms of welfare in the past, including using Obamacare, food stamps, and public housing. More

The overall number of people enrolled in SNAP has decreased too; from August 2017 to August of this year, enrollment declined by more than 940,000 households. 

The DHS statement says:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a proposed rule that will clearly define long-standing law to ensure that those seeking to enter and remain in the United States either temporarily or permanently can support themselves financially and will not be reliant on public benefits … [or] likely to become burdens on American taxpayers.

DHS is proposing to consider current and past receipt of designated public benefits above certain thresholds as a heavily weighed negative factor.  The rule would also make nonimmigrants who receive or are likely to receive designated public benefits above the designated threshold generally ineligible for change of status and extension of stay.

The public benefits proposed to be designated in this rule are federal, state, local, or tribal cash assistance for income maintenance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid (with limited exceptions for Medicaid benefits paid for an “emergency medical condition,” and for certain disability services related to education), Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), institutionalization for long-term care at government expense, Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and Public Housing. The first three benefits listed above are cash benefits that are covered under current policy.



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