Public Charge News Is Scaring Immigrants Away From Visiting Local Food Pantries

Aug 13, 2019

The Trump Administration announced changes to immigration regulations on Monday. It would penalize immigrants for using services like SNAP or Medicaid. Lane County’s food bank, however, wants people to know using their services won’t affect their immigration process.

FOOD For Lane County executive director, Tom Mulhern, says over the past year they’ve seen a dip in immigrants using their services. He says news of the Public Charge rule will only stir more fear. But, the food bank is working on informing the community.

They’re encouraging immigrants, he says, “to take advantage of these services that are available, that at this point, are not going to be held against them in terms of their quest to legal resident status with a green card or eventually citizenship.”

Mulhern says it’s a misconception that immigrants who use public benefits are a burden because often, once they get on their feet, they give back more than they used. Mulhern says FOOD for Lane County doesn’t ask for immigration status when distributing food.