LULAC: Millions To Be Punished For Being Poor

Washington, DC – The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) says a plan announced Saturday by the Department of Homeland Security will have a devastating impact on millions of children, seniors and working adults in the United States whose only “crime” is living in poverty.

“We understand the need to curtail and prevent abuse of public assistance programs but this is wholesale stereotyping that assumes the worst in everyone who needs our help for a hot meal, a trip to the doctor or a roof over their heads,” said Domingo Garcia, LULAC National President. “The fact is that this has nothing to do with either undocumented immigrants or a threat to our national security and instead penalizes the most vulnerable,” added Garcia.

In an unusual announcement timed to happen over the weekend, ​Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said that the new rule limiting green cards for recipients of public benefits would "promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources.” The administration said the rule announced by the Department of Homeland Security would affect about 382,000 people a year and save the federal government millions of dollars annually.

“What the Administration doesn’t say is that the majority of people using public assistance in the United States are neither Latino nor recent arrival immigrants,” says Garcia. “In fact, the people who comprise the largest single group receiving public benefits are white by an overwhelming number totaling 35-million which is 11-million more than anyone else,” he stated.

In fact, most white people receiving benefits are enrolled in Medicaid and an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 42-percent of non-elderly Medicaid enrollees in 2015 were white. Also, U.S. Department of Agriculture data for 2013 show that the largest racial group participating in SNAP (​Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) are also white, at more than 40 percent. In addition, in 2015, 39 percent of all children in America—30.4 million—received healthcare coverage through Medicaid. Still, despite President Trump’s claims that reliance on welfare, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), "is out of control," the fact is that far fewer families in need receive support from this program today than did when welfare reform was enacted in 1996.

“LULAC believes it is a sad day in America when a President lacks a moral compass and decides to use poor children and families as scapegoats to get votes in a election,” says Garcia. “We ask Congress and the Senate to immediately hold public hearings and subpoena all emails and memos revealing the true reasons for these cruel and mean-spirited policies and why they are being adopted now?” he concluded.

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The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.LULAC.org.

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