FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2023
Governor Newsom Commits to Food Assistance for Older Undocumented Californians in 2025, But Still Excludes Hundreds of Thousands of Immigrants Under 55 Who Face Rising Food Insecurity
Los Angeles – Immigrant rights and anti-hunger advocates are pleased that, following months of hard advocacy work, Governor Gavin Newsom’s revised 2023-24 state budget plan proposes to move up the implementation date of the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) expansion to Californians immigrants age 55 and older, regardless of immigration status, from January 2027 to October 2025.
However, the governor’s revised state budget plan still fails to fully provide critical food benefits to the 46 percent of undocumented people under the age of 55 who are struggling with accessing the food they need today. While we appreciate this first step towards Food4All for those over 55, California immigrants of all ages are experiencing urgent need right now and can’t afford to wait to receive this assistance.
Food assistance programs such as CalFresh and CFAP have been proven to reduce hunger, improve health, and mitigate poverty in the long term. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, these programs exclude between 580,000 to 670,000 Californians ages under 55 just because of their immigration status. By eliminating the exclusion of income-eligible undocumented immigrants, DACA recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and certain visa holders from CFAP, we can ensure a more equitable state food safety net and build upon California’s growing movement towards immigrant inclusion.
Food4All is an urgent issue that affects the well-being of all communities across California. The Food4All coalition remains committed to working with their Legislative champions, the Legislature, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), and the Administration to ensure an equitable food safety net that does not discriminate on the basis of immigration status. We also call on the Governor and Assembly to follow the lead of Senate Budget leaders and include funding for full CFAP expansion in the final budget package. Until all California residents can access food assistance, if and when they need it, our institutions will not fully reflect the state’s values of equity and inclusion.
Betzabel Estudillo, Director of Engagement at Nourish California:
“No one should experience hunger because of their immigration status, yet hundreds of thousands of Californians struggling to put food on the table remain unjustly excluded from food assistance programs. We must stop turning people away who critically need food assistance simply because of their immigration status. When every Californian has access to the food they need, our communities and economies thrive.”
Benyamin Chao, California Immigrant Policy Center:
“With rising food costs, communities across California are struggling more and more to make ends meet. The updated timeline to extend CFAP to undocumented older adults announced today by the governor is welcome progress. Still, our leaders need to act more urgently to address the stark levels of food insecurity impacting vulnerable Californians. We know that most Californians support extending access to everyone, no matter their status or country of origin. We urge the governor to meet the exceptional needs of the moment and immediately end the discriminatory exclusion of Californians from our food safety net, regardless of immigration status or age.”
Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger):
“I look forward to working with the Governor and the Assembly to ensure the final draft of this year’s budget includes funding to address food insecurity, which is having a disproportionate impact on the many farmworkers and their families who grow our nation’s food. No Californian should go hungry or carry the burden of worrying about their next meal, and it’s why I will continue to champion Food4All until everyone across our state, regardless of age or immigration status, can access the nutritious food they need.”
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles):
“Our immigrant communities will pay the price if we fail to invest in an equitable food safety net,” said Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles). “California immigrant families are facing impossible choices between paying for food and paying for rent and bills. By investing in Food4All immediately, we can ensure that every Californian has the food they urgently need.”
Maribel Cruz, Associate Director, Organizing Rooted in Abolition, Liberation, and Empowerment (ORALE):
“Food4All ensures that our food safety net is equitable and accessible to all who call California home. We have seen first hand the impact that the pandemic and now high cost of food has had on our undocumented community. California can demonstrate leadership in how we care for the well being of all our residents regardless of age or immigration status.”
Gabriella Barbosa, Managing Director of Policy, The Children’s Partnership:
We thank Governor Newsom for speeding up the implementation of the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) expansion to people 55+ regardless of immigration status. The health of millions of children is directly impacted by the well-being of the adults they rely on. Over 1 million of our state’s children have an undocumented parent. Increasing access to food programs that support adults will also have a positive impact on our state’s children. We urge the Governor to expand CFAP access to include all income-eligible children and adults, regardless of immigration status. Nearly 70% of undocumented children are facing food insecurity. Access to affordable and nutritious food is imperative to a child’s wellbeing, shaping a child’s success in their health and their education.”
The Food4All coalition is a diverse, robust coalition of more than 50 anti-hunger, anti-poverty, immigrant rights and grassroot organizations that are working together to bring an equitable nutrition 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 and San Diego.
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.