New Urban Institute Report: Three in 10 Adults in California Immigrant Families with Low Incomes Avoided Safety Net Programs in 2020

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Published on Aug 5, 2021 in CalFresh, Immigrants, State Administration, State Legislation

A new report from Urban Institute found "three in 10 adults in California immigrant families with low incomes reported avoiding public benefit programs or other assistance in 2020 because of green card or other immigration concerns." This included key safety net programs intended to help Californians who've fallen on hard times like CalFresh, Medi-Cal, and emergency programs like Pandemic EBT (P-EBT).

Apart from concerns about immigration consequences, barriers to enrollment also included "limited eligibility for federally funded programs, burdensome application processes, and language and
technology barriers."

The report makes a number of recommendations on how states can better connect immigrant families with vital safety net supports:

  • Expand partnerships with culturally specific organizations
  • Tailor outreach strategies to the sources of information and places that immigrant families rely on
  • Match families to services based on need and limit the collection of sensitive information
  • Increase funding and capacity for enrollment culturally sensitive navigators

The recommendations align with Nourish California and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research's recent op-ed calling for clear, fact-based guidance to recover from Trump's public charge rule. It also underscores the need for the state to expand eligibility in the California Food Assistance Program to ensure all Californians have the food they need, regardless of immigration status.

Join the Food4All Campaign

Nourish California and the California Immigrant Policy Center are leading the Food4All campaign to end the immigrant exclusion in the state's food assistance programs. We invite you to join us and lend your voice in support of an equitable nutrition safety net for all.

Join the Food4All campaign here.