Last week State Senator Sal DiDomenico joined the Feeding Our Neighbors Coalition for a legislative briefing in support of An Act establishing basic needs assistance for Massachusetts immigrant residents (S.76/H.135). The event highlighted the need for this legislation and funding in the budget to restore basic food and cash assistance benefits for legally present immigrants, and included remarks from Senator DiDomenico, Representatives Judith Garcia and Tony Cabral, medical professionals, and community leaders, such as Gladys Vega of La Colaborativa, who work with immigrant families.
Thousands of immigrants remain ineligible for federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and cash assistance benefits due to strict eligibility restrictions put in effect since 1996. Massachusetts has provided state-funded nutrition and cash assistance benefits in the past – from 1997 to 2002 – when the Legislature unanimously voted to provide key benefits.
“While the prices of food and housing are rising, thousands of Massachusetts residents are being denied vital food and cash assistance benefits because of unreasonable and cruel eligibility restrictions,” said Senator DiDomenico. “Government can and should do everything it can to ensure its residents have basic living standards, and this is an easy step to take to protect countless people who are suffering in my district and across our state. I want to thank the Feeding Our Neighbors Coalition for their work on this issue and I will continue to partner with these organizations and my colleagues to get this unjust policy fixed.”