New Research: Public Charge, Food Security, and Access to Health Care

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Published on Mar 9, 2021 in Immigrants

Earlier this month, our friends at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research published a brief assessing the harm caused by the Trump Administration’s changes to the public charge rule. The brief highlights the need for inclusive policies that work for all who call California home.

The researchers found that across our state, one in four immigrant adults with low income avoided public programs, such as CalFresh and Medi-Cal, out of fear that program participation would negatively impact their immigration status or the status of a family member.

Among individuals who avoided public programs in the past year, more than half were food insecure (54%). That rate is not only alarmingly high, but it’s a stark contrast to the already high rate of food insecurity (36%) among those who did not avoid public programs.

Exclusive policies like public charge don’t just affect those subject to the harmful rules: More than one-quarter (27%) of lawful permanent residents reported avoiding public programs even though the public charge rule does not apply to their applications for citizenship.

We thank the stellar team at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research for bringing these important findings to light.

Read the brief and related materials.

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