Study: Immigrant families drop SNAP
November 15, 2018
The Trump administration's anti-immigrant rhetoric has led Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation to decline among eligible immigrant families in the first half of 2018 following 10 years of increasing participation from 2007 through 2017, according to research presented at the American Public Health Association's 2018 annual meeting in San Diego this week.
Preliminary 2018 data showed a 10 percent drop in enrollment among immigrant families eligible for SNAP who have been in the country less than five years, APHA said in a news release.
APHA said the study surveyed more than 35,000 mothers of young children in five U.S. cities — Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Little Rock — from 2007 through the first half of 2018. Researchers interviewed families in emergency rooms and primary care clinics about their household's food security and their participation in SNAP, among other health topics.
"It's important to note that the eligibility rules for SNAP remained unchanged between 2017 and 2018," said Allison Bovell-Ammon, the lead researcher and deputy director of policy strategy for Boston Medical Center's Children's HealthWatch.
"We believe the drop in participation may be related to more nuanced changes in national immigration rhetoric and increased federal action to deport and detain immigrants. These findings demonstrate that rhetoric and the threat of policy changes, even before changes are enacted, may be causing families to forego nutrition assistance."
"Some immigrant families may be forced to make agonizing choices between enrolling in critical nutrition programs and jeopardizing their future immigration status. These tradeoffs are likely to have a negative impact on children's and families' health," added Bovell-Ammon.
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–The Hagstrom Report