Food4All Coalition Statement in Response to the Governor’s January Budget
Advocates Disappointed by Lack of New Investments for Food4All in Governor Newsom’s Budget Proposal, Call for Removal of Harmful Exclusions
Los Angeles – Immigrant rights and anti-hunger advocates are deeply disappointed that Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2023-24 state budget plan announced today lacks new investments to remove exclusions to the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for Californians ages 54 and under, regardless of immigration status, while delaying the implementation date for the historic expansion of CFAP for all Californians ages 55 and older by four years.
Every day that the Governor delays removing exclusions to CFAP and implementing last year’s budget allocation, immigrant communities across California continue to worry about getting food on the table for their families. This includes 75,000 Californians who are estimated to be eligible for the expansion of CFAP for ages 55 and older, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO). Nearly half (45%) of undocumented Californians and two out of every three (64%) undocumented children are affected by food insecurity, according to data analysis conducted in partnership with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
The Food4All coalition is committed to working with its Food4All Legislative champions, the Legislature, and the Governor’s office to ensure that all Californians, regardless of age or immigration status, have timely access to the food they need. No exceptions, no exclusions. In response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement of his proposed 2023-24 state budget plan today, the below members of the Food4All coalition issued the following statements:
Betzabel Estudillo, Director of Engagement at Nourish California:
“The delay in the implementation date for providing food assistance to Californians 55 and older as included in the Governor’s proposed budget means that immigrant communities in California who are hurting right now and facing skyrocketing prices of food will continue to experience exacerbated hunger and hardship. The proposed budget misses a critical opportunity to fully expand access to CFAP to Californians ages 54 and under, regardless of their immigration status, and build on last year’s historic expansion of CFAP to older Californians. Until all Californians can access food assistance when and if they need it, our state does not truly reflect our values of equity and inclusion. Now is the time to bring equity to our food safety net and remove racist and xenophobic policies so that everyone can access the food they need.”
Benyamin Chao, Health & Public Benefits Policy Manager at California Immigrant Policy Center:
“By delaying the implementation of food assistance for Californians age 55 and over who are currently excluded due to their immigration status to 2027, the governor’s budget puts off timely, tangible solutions to income inequality and poverty. These issues disproportionately impact older undocumented adults, who are grappling with the rising cost of food today. The budget items funded during a financial shortfall show where our priorities are as a state. Food4All will put people first, invest in our communities, and share resources equitably instead of keeping them concentrated in the hands of a wealthy few. By failing to extend food assistance to currently excluded Californians, this budget misses a historic opportunity to build equity and benefits for those that have faced the greatest barriers.”
Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger):
“Hunger knows no border, no race, no nationality. As long as many California immigrants continue to be excluded from safety net programs, Food4All continues to be an urgent and essential priority to address food insecurity in our state. Unfortunately, the Governor’s proposed budget does not address this urgent need and delays a commitment made in last year’s budget to extend food assistance to all Californians ages 55 and older. I will continue to champion the Food4All proposal in the Legislature and this year’s budget process so that low-income families in my district and across the state no longer have to worry about where their next meal will come from.”
Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles):
“As state leaders, we are responsible for building a budget that is equitable and inclusive of all California families. With so many low-income households struggling with the daily costs of living, we have an opportunity and an obligation to ensure that everyone who calls California home has a fair chance to thrive. Given the lack of a full investment in Food4All and the delay of anticipated food assistance for all Californians ages 55 and older to 2027, I look forward to championing the Food4All proposal this year and fighting until everyone has access to food.”
Stephanie Butler, Director of Nutrition & Food Security Program at National Health Foundation:
“We are extremely disappointed that Governor’s budget did not include funding for expanding California’s Food Assistance Program to include everyone regardless of immigration status or age. Access to food is a humanitarian issue that severely effects undocumented residents within our state. Our safety net programs help our fellow Californians thrive but exclude our most vulnerable residents. Access to food and our safety net programs should be accessible for all, regardless of immigration status and age. No exceptions. No exclusion.
Ezer Pamintuan, Policy Advocate at the Alameda County Community Food Bank
“We are disappointed that Governor Newsom’s proposed budget failed to include funding to expand access to the California Food Assistance Program to all regardless of immigration status or age. Food is a basic human right, yet millions of Californians are unjustly excluded from crucial nutrition programs solely due to their immigration status. These nutrition programs are intended to serve as a ‘safety net’ that protects people from falling into poverty, but California’s safety net is full of holes. We call on the governor and our state legislators to work together to expand immigrant inclusion in the safety net, which will promote equitable health outcomes, advance the economic prosperity of the whole state, and build a community where everyone belongs.”
The Food4All coalition is a diverse, robust coalition of more than 100 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.
Nourish CA: Betzabel Estudillo, firstname.lastname@example.org, (213) 422-7833
CIPC: Ian Moor, email@example.com, (323) 303-4372