Academy Supports Executive Orders on Immigration

02/08/2021 - It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that access to enough food for an active, healthy life is a basic human need and fundamental right, and that children and adolescents should have access to an adequate supply of healthful and safe foods that promote optimal physical, cognitive and social growth and development. After 2019 reports about a lack of access to adequate, appropriate food and nutrition at U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facilities, the Academy called for implementation of stronger food and nutrition standards.

The Academy also has supported keeping asylum-seeking families together and led a coalition letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, expressing concerns about long-term impacts of U.S. immigration policies on children’s mental and physical well-being from family separation, particularly for breastfeeding infants. The Academy submitted formal comments in opposition to policies that would allow for indefinite detention of children and families and supports current efforts to reunify previously separated families.

Earlier, the Academy opposed the final rule, "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds," which intended to deny legal residents and minor U.S. citizens the ability to participate in assistance programs that address food insecurity and provide cost-effective access to health care. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on nutrition security, especially among minority communities, the Academy supports a review of current practices.

In recent days, President Biden has signed three executive orders on immigration. These orders address many issues including reforming the asylum system, family reunification and calling for a review of current practices that may discourage legal immigrants from accessing assistance programs such as SNAP and Medicaid.

The Academy looks forward to working with the Biden administration to ensure that the food, nutrition and health care needs of people in America are met, including those of immigrant children and families.