A leaked proposal by the Department of Homeland Security, includes the stipulation that immigrant use of public benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrtition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as food banks, can be factored in when deciding whether to grant a visa or green card. This is to make sure that these immigrants will not have to rely on the government for assistance, once they are permanent residents of the U.S. The timeline and future of this proposal is not yet known, but the leak has stirred fear in immigrant communities.
Fearing the risk of deportation or ineligibility for citizenship, immigrants are rushing to drop out of these public nutrition services. Sharp drops between 7 and 9 percent decreases can be seen in several high immigrant areas that use these programs as panic increases. For many programs, immigrant status has never been a factor in the application process, but in 2014 then Governor Pence required WIC applicants to disclose their immigration status, causing many women to stop enrolling.
VERDICT: While this proposal leak has caused panic across immigrant communities, the timeline of if or when the proposal will be enacted is unclear. The proposal is a classic example of discrimination against immigrants and another way in which to spread the fear of deportation further.