Letters and Correspondences
Letter: Let states know public charge rule no longer in effect
First Focus on Children sent the following letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging him to issue an informational bulletin informing states that the 2019 Public Charge Final Rule — which had a chilling effect on eligible immigrants applying for benefits such as food assistance — is no longer in effect.
Excerpt from the letter:
The public charge rule and the resulting “chilling effect” not only impacted the use of health insurance programs, but also enrollment in federal nutrition programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). A report by Children’s Defense Fund-Texas found that in Texas alone, the SNAP program saw a 13.5 percent reduction in enrollment between December 2017 and April 2019, and WIC had lost 18.8 percent of its caseload. The National Immigrant Law Center and the Food Research and Action Center found in their report that immigrants were the most afraid to access the SNAP program compared to other federal nutrition programs, and were more likely to apply for Medicaid than SNAP.