This issue brief provides a brief explanation of SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps), a brief history of immigrant children’s eligibility for SNAP, a section about the demographics of the children of immigrants, and a section about children’s eligibility in light of the “lawful provisional status” proposed in 2013 immigration reform blueprints.
From a review of online application forms in 26 states, FNS found many that asked for immigration status–related information not needed to establish the eligibility of individuals seeking assistance. As a result, on Feb. 18, 2011, FNS issued GUIDANCE advising state agencies of changes needed to online application forms to reduce barriers to access by eligible applicants in immigrant families and prevent violations of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
An amendment to the House farm bill was offered by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) to prevent millions of low-income U.S. citizen children from securing this critical nutrition assistance program. It would have required that all members of the household provide proof of citizenship or immigration status, even if they were not seeking benefits for themselves. In families with different statuses, such a provision would prevent even eligible individuals from applying for much-needed nutrition assistance. Currently, states may not deny SNAP to eligible individuals based on the status of other family members who are not seeking services.
(Letter sent to President Bush) (PDF, 12/6/05) (la carta traducida a español)