food security

New “Public Charge” Rule: How does it affect our patients’ families?

Texas is home to approximately 4.7 million immigrants (an estimated 17% of the state population), including approximately 317,000 immigrant children1. Of these immigrants, approximately 1.7 million are naturalized US citizens, nearly 1 million are eligible to become naturalized US citizens, and nearly 2 million are undocumented immigrants1,2. The number of US-born children in Texas who live with an undocumented family member is reported to be approximately 1 million, with approximately 500,000 children with an undocumented parent1,3. Obtaining permanent residency status is a lengthy process and a source of anxiety for many immigrants. Recent changes to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) rules regarding which public benefits count negatively towards obtaining permanent residency may impact these families and children. Pediatric healthcare providers should be prepared to help immigrant families understand how the use of public benefits could impact changing their immigration status.

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AAP Opposes Cuts to Food Stamps

A proposed reduction of 8.6 million dollars in the budget for The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called Food Stamps, has already been approved in the House and is moving on to the Senate. See quote below from the AAP president Dr. James Perrin.

“Pediatricians witness the effects of childhood hunger firsthand: hungry children are less likely to be healthy and are more likely to suffer developmental delays, have behavioral problems and have difficulties focusing in school. At a time when more than one in five U.S. children lives in poverty, the Farm Bill’s cuts to this program exacerbate the effects of child hunger and disproportionately hurt children. In fact, 850,000 households across the country will now receive $90 less of SNAP benefits each month. To a family already living in poverty, these cuts will mean fewer meals and contribute to more anxiety about where the next meal will come from. No child should be hungry in this country. Parents should not be left wondering how to feed their families at the end of each month.”

– James Perrin, MD, FAAP

– See more at AAP Federal Policy

– Learn about ways to help Dallas families dealing with food insecurity at The North Texas Food Bank

By Katie Maddox, MD