Food4All Coalition Calls on Governor, Legislature to Expand Access to Food Assistance to All Californians

Published on May 29, 2024 in CalFresh, Food4All, Immigrants, Older Adults


May 29, 2024


Linda Zhang,, 516-395-5866

Food4All Coalition Calls on Governor, Legislature to Expand Access to Food Assistance to All Californians

Sacramento (May 28, 2024) – In response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed May budget revision, the Food4All coalition and several leading lawmakers held a news conference on Tuesday calling on the governor and the Legislature to reject delays to expanding access to the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to all Californians, regardless of age or immigration status.

The governor’s proposed 2024-25 budget revision would delay until 2027 the state’s previous historic commitment to expand access to food benefits to undocumented Californians aged 55 and older. As a result, hundreds of thousands of older Californians would continue to be cut out of accessing critical food programs, solely due to their immigration status.

During the press conference, advocates unveiled data from the Public Policy Institute of California, Nourish California, and California Immigrant Policy Center that underscores the urgent need to expand access to CalFresh. The new data shows that:

  • 64% of undocumented Californians of all ages are living in or near poverty;
  • 41% of undocumented children and young adults ages 0-26 in California are living in poverty; 
  • 1 in 10 (11%) undocumented Californians are living in deep poverty; and
  • San Diego has the highest rate of poverty in the state among undocumented Californians.

Advocates urged the governor and the Legislature to not delay the state’s commitment to provide food security to immigrants 55 and older and to expand food assistance to all Californians regardless of their immigration status.

“Our elected officials have the power to enact legislation that gets at the root of rising poverty and food insecurity among immigrant communities in our state. CalFresh continues to be our state’s most powerful anti-poverty program – honoring the commitment to ensure access to this critical benefit without delay to Californians ages 55 and older, regardless of immigration status, is a moral obligation for our state’s leaders,” said Jackie Mendelson, Policy Advocate with Nourish California.

“Our most reliable indicators of economic hardship tell us that vulnerable Californians, especially immigrant families, need urgent help to be able to afford enough food to eat. We urge our elected officials to reject the proposed delays to Food4All and continue our progress towards an inclusive safety net,” said Benyamin Chao, Health and Public Benefits Policy Manager with California Immigrant Policy Center.

“We are fighting for our most vulnerable community members and their basic needs. All Californians should have access to food assistance if and when they need it. Following the Governor’s May Revise, we are disappointed to see it lacked a full investment in Food4All and delayed the implementation timeline for food assistance for Californians ages 55 and older to October 2027. The reality is that people are hungry now. Everyone deserves access to timely food assistance. That’s why I am proud to be fighting for AB 311 and its accompanying budget ask to fully fund Food4All,” said Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, 54th AD.

“I am proud to support full investment in Food4All, including providing for our undocumented seniors. The current budget proposal is not aligned with our California values. I will continue to fight for our most vulnerable regardless of immigration status,” said Assemblymember Liz Ortega, 20th AD.

“Poverty-related hunger is at shameful levels, with deep, unjust inequities for immigrant communities who feed the world. Unfortunately, the budget as proposed would not only delay food assistance, but also deny In Home Supportive Services health care based on immigration status. A California for all requires our budget to prioritize these programs to address racist exclusions in the federal safety net. California has the wealth, and we have the policy tools to ensure this, we need the political will to get this done,” said Andrew Cheyne, Managing Director of Public Policy, GRACE/End Child Poverty California.

“By delaying the expansion of CFAP to 2027, food insecurity continues to disproportionately hurt communities of color who face harmful policies, structural racism, and unjust exclusion from safety net programs, all of which limit access to the food we need. From an early age, I understood the frustration and worry of not being able to afford food and unfortunately, there are still thousands of families experiencing the same struggle,” said Sheylin de Leon, Youth Advocate, Oakland HOPS.

“I am proud to stand alongside Assemblymember Santiago and the strong coalition in support of AB 311 to ensure that no family or child goes hungry by expanding equitable access to the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP), regardless of immigration status. With California being the fourth-largest economy in the world, no one should be struggling to put food on the table. During the pandemic, our immigrant families were at the forefront when our state needed them most and ensuring them access to this critical program is a commitment that we are creating a future for Californians that is inclusive and equitable,” said Assemblymember Juan Carrillo, 39th AD.

A livestream recording of the press conference is available here.

Food4All youth advocates lead legislators and the Food4All coalition in a chant at the state capitol


The Food4All coalition is a diverse, robust coalition of more than 100 anti-hunger, anti-poverty, immigrant rights, and grassroots organizations that are working together to bring an equitable food safety net that does not discriminate based on immigration status.

Founded in 1992 and operating for over a quarter century as California Food Policy Advocates, Nourish California is a nonpartisan, statewide 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. We engage in policy advocacy and research at the local, regional, and state levels in California and at the federal level. When our small team isn’t out meeting with communities, partners, and policymakers, we can be found in our offices in Oakland, Los Angeles (virtual), and San Diego (virtual).

The California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) is a statewide immigrant rights organization that advocates for policies that protect and advance the rights of immigrants and their families throughout California. CIPC combines legislative and policy advocacy, strategic communications, statewide organizing, and regional coalition capacity building to pursue its mission of advocating for policies that uphold the humanity of immigrants and refugees while advancing racial, social, and economic justice.


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