Kansas’ Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services’ new policy: cutting food aid for children of illegal immigrants
February 10, 2012
Filed under World & Nation
Born in the USA, the land of the free …
On Oct. 1, the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services made a controversial policy change, cutting food aid for many children of parents who are illegal immigrants, reported the Kansas City Star.
Although illegal immigrants are not allowed to obtain food stamps, the children of illegal immigrants born in the USA had previously been eligible. Because of the children’s status as U.S. citizens, the families had been able to receive food aid and some relief for the tight family budget. However, the implementation of the new policy discontinues this aid to many families living in Kansas.
According to MSNBC News, SRS has changed the way it counts household income for its Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Through this program, SRS considers the entire income of all members of a household, but does not account for illegal family members when considering the eligibility of a family for aid.
“Now, all household incomes are treated equally,” said Angela de Rocha, SRS director of communications, to the Kansas City Star. “Prior to the policy change … U.S. citizens were being discriminated against.”
Rocha believes that without the recent change, the policy would have given illegal immigrants in Kansas more benefits than some U.S. citizens.
Some supporting the policy change argue that the children of illegal immigrants would not have become U.S. citizens in the first place if their parents had not unlawfully immigrated.
However, many are taken aback by the new policy, and a heated debate has emerged regarding whether the state’s action is ethical.
“The decision is absolutely inhumane and one more example of how many in this society are using the immigrant as a scapegoat for all the problems of this country,” said Jorge Zeballos, International Student Advisor and Latino Community Coordinator. “Denying U.S. citizens proper food assistance because of their parents’ immigration status shows a lack of empathy for other human beings that is beyond comprehension.”
“This is not a time, with this economy, when we should be withdrawing help from struggling families with children,” said Stacy Dean, Vice President of Food Assistance Policy. “We have a demonstrated problem of food insecurity in this country, and, in Kansas, this policy takes you further away from being able to solve the problem.”
“The bottom line here is we have children who are going to bed hungry at night,” said President and CEO of Kansas Action for Children Shannon Cotsoradis to the Kansas City State.
Even though Kansas Governor Sam Brownback continually tries to defend the new policy, the controversial issue does not rest within the Kansas state government.
“Their bill is a legal impossibility and a political fantasy,” said Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, to the Associated Press.
As the controversial issue gains more attention in Kansas and throughout the nation, many illegal immigrants continue to worry about the future of their families, including their children, who remain legal citizens of the United States of America.