Immigrants are increasingly turning down federal assistance for formula for infants and healthy food for their kids in the wake of threats from the Trump administration that the use of government assistance could jeopardize immigrants’ green card chances.
According to a new Politico report, public health agencies in at least 18 states have seen enrollment in WIC — a nutritious food assistance program for pregnant women and families — drop by 20 percent. The agencies told Politico that they’ve seen a significant uptick in phone calls from documented and undocumented immigrants asking to be removed from the WIC program following reports that the White House is considering using the acceptance of public assistance against green card applicants.
No official policy has been put in place yet, but even reports of the possibility have caused widespread panic, Politico reported. The proposal, which has been promulgated largely by White House adviser Stephen Miller, would mostly impact legal immigrants already in the U.S. and those seeking to immigrate to America through legal venues.
WIC is one of the “least politically controversial” public assistance programs that the White House plans to earmark in its proposal because it aids children who are legal citizens, according to Politico. The program gives pregnant mothers and low-income families vouchers to purchase baby formula and fresh fruits, vegetables, milk and other basic groceries. WIC serves nearly half of all the babies who are born in the United States, according to Politico.