Governor Newsom Fails to Support Hundreds of Thousands of Immigrants Under 55 Who Face Rising Food Insecurity

Published on Jun 27, 2023 in CalFresh, Food4All, Immigrants, Older Adults


June 27, 2023



Courtney Shojinaga,, 213-204-3614

Ian Moor,, 323-303-4372


Governor Newsom Fails to Support 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 Newsom’s 2023-24 state budget plan moves up the implementation date of the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) expansion to California immigrants age 55 and older, regardless of immigration status, to October 2025 from January 2027 as originally proposed.

Despite this win, the 2023-24 state budget fails to provide CFAP benefits to people under the age of 55. California has the world’s fourth largest economy and is home to millions of people affected by food insecurity, including 46 percent of undocumented people under the age of 55 that are struggling with accessing the food they need. This all comes at the heels of Immigrant Heritage Month, as proclaimed by the Governor earlier this month, yet the state budget continues to exclude 580,000 to 670,000 California  immigrants under the age of 55 from accessing critical food assistance.  

The Food4All coalition remains committed to working with Senator Hurtado, Assemblymember Santiago, 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 or age. 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:

“California immigrants continue to face xenophobic policies, structural racism, and unjust exclusion from safety net programs, all of which limit access to the food they need. Without critical food assistance, immigrant families are having to make hard choices between purchasing food or meeting other basic necessities. While we appreciate that the final state budget moves the timeline of the CFAP expansion to those 55 and older, it missed a critical opportunity to address the increasing food insecurity in the state. We commit to continue to advance our Food4All efforts so that no California immigrant goes hungry because of their immigration status.”

Benyamin Chao, Policy Manager at California Immigrant Policy Center: 

“Having enough to eat is necessary to live a healthy life. That is why it is disappointing to see that Governor Newsom is still reluctant to fully invest in Food4All and protect all vulnerable California residents from the worst effects of food insecurity. Thanks to our supporters who have voiced the urgent need for Food4All, California is now accelerating the CFAP expansion for populations ages 55 and over, regardless of immigration status. We have the momentum and now look to our leaders to double down on our progress and end the exclusion of the remaining populations age 54 and below.”

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger):

“I appreciate the support of the legislature in confronting food insecurity by moving up the start date for the implementation of the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) expansion to California’s undocumented residents age 55 and older, regardless of immigration status, to October 2025. We have a moral responsibility to include further Food4All investments in our budgets, particularly the 0-54 age group that was sadly not included in this year’s budget. California boasts the 4th largest global economy, however, those who contribute so much to our state’s economic success and our food security are disproportionately struggling to access fresh, healthy food. This is inequitable and we must continue to strive to improve food accessibility for all within California.”

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles):

“Too many families are facing impossible choices between paying for food and paying for rent and bills. In the world’s fourth largest economy, no one should go hungry, it is as simple as that. That is why I am pleased to see the additional funding for the California Food Assistance Program so all Californians 55 and older in need can access food, regardless of immigration status. Undocumented essential workers were here for us during the pandemic and kept our state moving, we must be here for them.”

Ahmed Ali, Youth Advisory Council Member at UCSD’s Youth Advisory Council:

“I want to express appreciation to the Governor and the Legislature for moving up the timeline for implementation for the CFAP expansion to income-eligible immigrants age 55 and older. However, I am disappointed that the Budget Act does not include further Food4All investment to expand CFAP to age 0-54 because I see a lot of people who fit that age range struggling everyday to have access to fresh food. It pains me to know that this will unfortunately have to continue.”

Josue Mendez, Student at UCD at UC Student Association:

“I want to thank Governor Newsom for helping out undocumented citizens 55+ by moving up the timeline for the CFAP expansion, but wish he included the expansions of those under 55 like the Assembly and Senate. This age requirement excludes many struggling undocumented people who would have access to these benefits if they were documented. As a 21 year old college student living off campus, it has been difficult to manage grocery costs while attending school. Offering food resources would minimize problems that younger undocumented people face.”

Luz Gallegos, Executive Director at TODEC Legal Center:

“It is our moral responsibility to defend and protect our state’s most vulnerable populations that give their working life to our state’s economy when at times not receiving anything in return. We are grateful for the CFAP expansion for our older immigrants, but we must protect all Californians. If our community is healthy, our state’s economy is healthy.”



The Food4All coalition is a diverse, robust coalition of more than 110 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.


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