City Council approves Moya’s bill combatting fear around food assistance programs in immigrant communities

Councilman Francisco Moya
Photo by Michael Shain

The City Council voted on Thursday to pass Councilman Francisco Moya’s bill that is aimed to ensure anyone leaving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will receive information on the city’s emergency food assistance programs.

“Needing a little help to feed yourself or your family is not an indictment of character,” said Moya. “But refusing to help in the wealthiest country the world has ever known — for no reason other than pure xenophobia — that’s absolutely an indictment of our national character. And that’s exactly what the Trump administration is doing with its bigoted public charge policy.”

Moya introduced the bill, Int. 1708, after hearing reports that immigrants have been disenrolling from SNAP, commonly known as food stamps, and other public programs fearing that it may put their immigration status in jeopardy.

According to the most recent list of active programs, 544 food pantries and soup kitchens rely on the Emergency Food Assistance Program citywide. Of those, 124 reside in Queens.

The law requires the Human Resources Administration (HRA) to provide information on all those emergency feeding programs to individuals who disenroll from SNAP benefits and whose benefits are set to lapse on or after Jan. 1, 2016. 

The department will also distribute that information to anyone who receives a SNAP recertification notice. Individuals will be contacted by mail or email. The department will make the information available online and on any related mobile applications as well.

The Council adopted the bill by a vote of 50-0.