Senator Hurtado Releases Statement After the Food for All Act Passes the Senate Human Services Committee 4-0

SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) released the following statement after her bill. Senate Bill 245, which modernizes the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP), expanding eligibility for state funded nutrition benefits to Californians of all ages currently excluded due solely to their immigration status, passed the Senate Human Services Committee on a 4-0 vote:

“Hunger knows no border, no race and no nationality,” said Senator Hurtado. “It is unacceptable that 2 in 5 undocumented immigrants and nearly two-thirds of undocumented children live in a food insecure household. I am proud that last year we were able to combat this insecurity by expanding access to food assistance to older Californians, regardless of their immigration status. But the fight isn’t over--we must continue until all Californians have equal access to food assistance.”

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), principal coauthor of the Food for All Act, said, “No one should go hungry, no matter their immigration status, especially as the price for staple items, such as milk and eggs, continue to rise. Immigrant communities, disproportionately affected during the pandemic, are now contending with rising food costs. That is why we are introducing legislation expanding food assistance access to ALL, regardless of immigration status or age. This is urgent, and we must act now.”

"No family should have to worry about where their next meal will come from. But recently, Californians, especially immigrants across the state, have been struggling to put food on the table between rising food prices and the winding down of available resources due to the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. Now is the time for our state leaders to deliver Food4All, our collective vision for a truly inclusive and equitable food safety net. SB 245 does exactly that," says Benyamin Chao, Health & Public Benefits Policy Manager at the California Immigrant Policy Center

"California immigrants and their families struggled with accessing food with 45% of undocumented Californians currently affected by food insecurity. Yet, they remain unjustly excluded from food benefit programs like CalFresh and the California Food Assistance Program. SB 245 "Food4All" ensures equitable access to our state food safety net by providing food benefits to all California immigrants with low income, regardless of their immigration status. When every Californian, no matter their age or immigration status, has access to the food they need, California can be a more resilient, thriving state.”  - said Betzabel Estudillo, Director of Engagement, Nourish California.

Senator Hurtado secured $40 million in the 2022-2023 State Budget to provide greater food security to low-income immigrant workers by expanding eligibility for state funded nutrition benefits to seniors ineligible for CalFresh due solely to their immigration status. In 2021, she introduced Senate Bill 464 the Comida Para Todos (Food for All Act). This bill, held in Assembly Appropriations Committee, would have expanded eligibility for state funded nutrition benefits for anyone ineligible for CalFresh due solely to their immigration status. The 2021-2022 budget included implementation funding for a targeted age based expansion of the benefit.

Senator Melissa Hurtado currently represents the 16th Senate District in the California Legislature, which includes portions of Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern Counties. Hurtado is Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, and a member of the Environmental Quality, Health, Human Services, and Natural Resources and Water Committees, and Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies.