California offers health and food protections for undocumented immigrants

Los Angeles, June 29. California is on track to become the first US state to offer health coverage to all undocumented immigrants and extend food assistance benefits to immigrants without legal status over the age of 55.

The two benefits for the state’s undocumented population were included in next year’s state budget.

Health insurance coverage financed by the state of California for undocumented immigrants between the ages of 26 and 49 was included in the 2022-2023 state budget signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, and which is currently before the Democrat-dominated Legislature. , for your approval.

Undocumented immigrants under 26 years of age and over 49 years of age with low resources already had access to subsidized health insurance in the state.

The new expansion, which would begin on January 1, 2024, is estimated to cover an additional 700,000 undocumented residents.

In a statement, state senator María Elena Durazo considered that “this is a victory for the millions of undocumented Californians who contribute $3.7 billion in state and local taxes and more than $40 billion in purchasing power to our economy each year.”

The state budget also includes a measure to offer food benefits to low-income undocumented immigrants.

The plan is to expand the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which grants food stamps with state funds so that low-income immigrants without legal status who are 55 years of age or older have the opportunity to receive this help.

The 2022-2023 budget includes $35 million to prepare for food aid expansion, which may grow to $113.4 million by 2025-26.

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Betzabel Estudillo, main advocate for Nourish California, an organization that defends food rights, applauded the proposal in a statement. “California is once again making history by removing xenophobic exclusions from our state’s safety net, she said.

He added that “this move toward equitable access to our state food and nutrition safety net will help reduce hunger and alleviate poverty.”

However, Estudillo warned that California must move forward in “covering an entire family unit” and eliminating the age requirement.

It is estimated that the expansion of the program could take several years for the benefits to reach all eligible immigrants.

A recent analysis by the Office of Legislative Analysts shows that the expansion of food assistance for undocumented immigrants 55 years of age or older will benefit some 75,000 immigrants for the 2025-2026 cycle. EFE?

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