Reversing Welfare Reform?

Tracey Potts
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In a new research brief, Reversing Welfare Reform? Examining the effects of policy changes on Mexican immigrant families, Dr. Stephanie Potochnick, assistant professor at the Truman School of Public Affairs, examines the impact of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 on food stamp participation and food insecurity rates among low-income Mexican immigrant households with children.

The act was intended to restore federal program eligibility for legal immigrants who had lost access with the Welfare Reform Law of 1996.  Potochnick explains that today’s economic climate is in sharp contrast to the booming economy of the 90’s and social assistance is an important resource for immigrant families struggling through recession and recovery.  Potochnick’s study looks at the effects of policy changes across five different economic periods on mixed status families, naturalized households and non-citizen Mexican immigrant households.

Proposed federal legislation would prohibit many of the 12,000,000 undocumented immigrant families from receiving federal benefits for a decade or more, if passed. According to the discussion, the food stamp program is the leading anti-poverty program for low-income families in the post-reform era.

Read the Brief

Read the Study