Minnesota Hunger-relief Partners Issue Statement on Proposed Changes to Public Charge Rule

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August 13, 2019 By: Tina Mortimer Category: SHH News

The Trump administration wants to significantly expand the government's definition of the centuries-old "public charge,” term, which would essentially force legal immigrants to choose between food support and other public benefits and their families.  We are concerned about the impact of the policy, as it will result in increased demand on Minnesota’s already-strained emergency food system or, worse yet, it will mean that immigrant families will choose not to seek out the food support they need.

Hunger-relief leaders in the community, including Channel One, Hunger Solutions, The Food Group, Second Harvest North Central Food Bank, Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank and Second Harvest Heartland believe any changes to the definition of “public charge” would only create more barriers to the fresh, healthy food our neighbors need to thrive.

Our opposition to the public charge rule is squarely focused on our belief that all people require access to healthy, fresh food to reach their full potential. This benefits our neighbors, our communities and the future economic vitality of our region.

Public charge is a term used in immigration law to refer to a person who is primarily dependent on the government for support.  Immigration officials currently ask green card applicants to prove they won't be a burden on the country. If the new rule is enacted, caseworkers must also consider the use of food assistance such as SNAP.

1 in 11 people in our community, including Ann, Nika, Tim and Elena, rely on SNAP to feed their families and make ends meet! Making families choose between SNAP and obtaining US citizenship is cruel and places millions of children at increased risk of hunger. SNAP benefits have a significant and well-demonstrated impact on children’s short and long-term health, educational outcomes and even their long-term financial security, helping children grow up healthy and strong.

You can read our joint statement here. You can learn more about SNAP and how we help here. 

Get help. If you or someone you know needs food help, support is available! Find your closest food shelf.


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