(Washington D.C., Thursday, October 10, 2019) – On October 15, the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule will go into effect that will penalize legal immigrants who access public benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid. This rule could deny green cards to legal immigrants who have used or might use safety-net programs.

This rule will affect the health and well-being of millions of lawful residents in the U.S. – including children. Nearly one quarter of kids in the U.S. have at least one immigrant parent, and 9 in 10 of these children are U.S. citizens. Families will be forced to make the choice of putting food on the table and staying together legally in the country.

The government recently released statistics on the number of people living in hunger and poverty in the U.S. in 2018. It found that more than 16% of Latinos, and almost 17% of Latino families with children, experienced hunger.

These rates are significantly higher than the general population. Latino children are nearly twice as likely to lack access to sufficient nutritious food as non-Latino white children.

The rule is already having a ‘chilling effect’ on children and families and it hasn’t even gone into effect. Legal residents, including permanent residents, are foregoing SNAP, Medicaid, and programs not covered by the rule such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) because they fear they will be deported.

The last time changes were made to the public charge rule – between 1994 and 1998 – hunger among immigrant families increased dramatically.

José García will be able to explain what these public charge rule changes could mean for immigrant families. He will also discuss other policies proposed by the White House that will increase hunger in the United States.

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. By changing policies, programs, and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, Bread for the World provides help and opportunity far beyond the communities where we live.

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