For November’s Community Meeting we came together to learn about and discuss how to oppose the Trump Administration’s proposed rule regarding immigrants and public charge, including its chilling impact on families’ desire to access important food and nutrition programs. Representatives from the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute gave an informative presentation. We also learned about the food, nutrition, shelter and stabilization-related services at Action for Community Based Development (ABCD).
We would like to share some of the poignant quotes from our meeting:
“It’s a blatant scare tactic, preventing people to go [access supports] they can get, such as housing.”
“I fear working at a shelter and people not wanting to apply for SNAP and other services because of the fear which creates more food scarcity.”
“With our state laws, if [families] apply for EA and they cannot get housing, what will be their pathway [out of shelter]; what would be next for those families?”
“If a family is not applying for SNAP, where is the money for the food going to be coming from? It’ll have to come from the shelter, food pantries, etc.”
“Families/people come in late [for a new placement], it’s dark out, they have no transportation. We have been working on keeping regular stalk of meals (mostly frozen) that will be brought to intake for the families. Providing them with welcome bags that include market basket vouchers”
There is a lot of concern, fear, and anger about how access to food, shelter and permanent housing would be impacted by the proposed federal rule. The fear that families are feeling is already having an impact. For more on the “chilling effect”, please see this recent report from Mass Budget. For details on the proposed regulation and how to take action, please see our previous blog post: Support Immigrants and What We Stand for as a Nation! And for more on ABCD’s services, please go here.
The main message for families: stay on benefits! Nothing can be used against any families as far as benefits they are receiving until 60 days after the rule becomes law (if we don’t stop it first).
We will continue to fight, with you, for improved access to food, nutrition and shelter for all. We thank our community of engaged providers and families, and urge you to submit public comment by December 10th. Please see our previous blog post for more, but for quick links, public comments can be submitted via Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition’s micro-site (MIRA is part of the larger Protect Immigrant Families coalition that is taking the lead on this charge and are a great resource as well). You can also submit comment directly through the federal government’s website. Thank you to our presenters for this month’s community meeting!
-Liz and Team HFF