Academy Opposes New Regulation Denying Services to Legal Immigrants

It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that all people living in the United States have the fundamental right to the access of enough food to live an active, healthy life. The health of all Americans should improve as a result of our health policy choices and sufficient resources must be made available to ensure optimal health.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a final rule, "Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds," which would 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.

The final rule eliminates the ability for some individuals to participate in federally funded assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and the majority of Medicaid plans, both of which are vital components to addressing food insecurity and health disparities in the United States.

According to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the changes included in DHS's final rule may have negative impact on program participation for SNAP and Medicaid, which could lead to increased food insecurity, force a costly and avoidable burden on the nation’s healthcare system and potentially have long-term health implications for everyone living in the United States.

The Academy joined the Food is Medicine Coalition's December 2018 comments urging DHS to reconsider the punitive, deleterious changes outlined in the proposed rule.

The Academy supports policies that provide United States residents with the ability to provide food for themselves and their families, as well as access to clinically effective and cost-effective preventive health care and other essential health benefits.