Food stamps in Four Hours, si?


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Apr 10, 2006
The joys of anchor babies (optional):

KMEX helps an effort to get Latino immigrants to apply for food stamps. An O.C. group takes it a step further and offers a class on how to do it.
By Jennifer Delson, Times Staff Writer
October 13, 2006

Though it goes against the conventional wisdom of anti-illegal immigration supporters, those who enroll the poor in the federal food stamp program say they've struggled for years to get immigrant Latino families signed up.

Now a Spanish-language news report and television ad campaign have spurred thousands of immigrants in Orange County over the last several weeks to contact a nonprofit organization that offers a Spanish-language class called "Food Stamps in Four Hours."

The stream of immigrants contrasts sharply with what was going on just a few months ago when only a handful of immigrants would attend the free course.

The news report and ads were heard throughout Southern California, but those who responded in Orange County were directed to a nonprofit organization. Most other callers to the toll-free number were directed to county offices.

The Orange County strategy has been lauded throughout the state as a way to reach immigrants who are reluctant to get help from the government.

"They won't come on their own," said Jerry Sanders, food bank manager of the nonprofit Community Action Partnership of Orange County in Garden Grove. "They come from countries where they think the government isn't to be trusted. They figure there's a catch to free food."

Advocates say immigrants, if here illegally, are also worried about being deported if they apply for food stamps. Or they fear jeopardizing a pending application for residency or citizenship. Illegal immigrants can apply on behalf of their minor children here legally.

Other immigrants say they were simply embarrassed.

"The Mexican man is macho. He doesn't want to come to this country and beg," said Alfonso Chavez, the Community Action Partnership's outreach coordinator. "I tell them this is a program that will help the children. The kids are American-born, and they have a right to this program."

A Los Angeles County Department of Social Services task force is looking at ways to find eligible families to enroll. County workers have signed up families at food banks with only minor success.

"We recognize that people in Orange County are ahead of us," said task force member Bruce Rankin, the executive director of the Westside Food Bank in Los Angeles. "The rest of us in the state are looking at Orange County for ideas." Low participation, he said, "is a dilemma in the state."

The federal government estimates 60% of eligible households participate in the food stamp program nationally. In California, the participation rate drops sharply. A study of 2003 participation rates by Mathematica Policy Research, a nonpartisan research group, showed that 34% of California's working poor participated in the program that year, the third lowest percentage among the 50 states.

There are 30,000 households in Orange County that receive food stamps, federal officials said.

Sanders of the Community Action Partnership estimates more than three times that amount could qualify.

Aliso Viejo resident Jim Gilchrist, co-founder of the Minuteman Project, which fights illegal immigration, said the Orange County program encouraged illegal immigration.

These immigrants and their children "should only be given life-saving medical care," Gilchrist said.

"If we encourage illegal alien families to come forward and exploit the … system, aren't we encouraging more illegal immigration? We have to cut these benefits off."

In 2004, Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service and the Mexican Embassy agreed to jointly disseminate brochures and create the public service announcements.

The agreement led Mexican Consul Luis Miguel Ortiz Haro to tout the food stamp program on Univision's KMEX Channel 34 six weeks ago. The newscast included the partnership's phone number. More than 1,200 people called the partnership in the following days, Sanders said.

Then, two weeks ago, the Department of Agriculture began to air a monthlong series of ads on Spanish-language television in Southern California and three other markets in the U.S.

Forgive the link:,0,4082275.story

So the proponents of a program that wasn't supposed to exist are now complaining not enough illegals participated in this program?

Suck it up, AHHHHnold.,...

kausfiles: A mostly political Weblog.
"Food Stamps in Four Hours"Hello? Republicans? You Awake?
By Mickey Kaus
Updated Sunday, Oct. 15, 2006, at 3:31 PM ET

Mort's Word: Writing in the LAT, Lloyd Grove claims diplomatically that New York Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman was "as good as his word" when it came to not interfering with Grove's Daily News gossip column. But it doesn't sound like it!

Mort was as good as his word, even though I would occasionally hear that he was peeved about this or that item concerning this or that pal. In July 2005, then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller, a close Zuckerman friend, phoned him from jail in Virginia to complain bitterly about a mocking item reporting that her husband, Jason Epstein, was taking a luxury Mediterranean cruise during her incarceration. Mort insisted — via a top editor — that I write a sympathetic follow-up item expressing my delight that Epstein was able to get away from the stress of Plamegate. [E.A.]
Forcing Grove to write a "sympathetic" item about his close friend--I'd call that interference. .... If that's what it's like when Zuckerman's "as good as his word," what's his word worth? 12:22 P.M.

On This Week, former Secretary of State James Baker said his Iraq Study Group would present options in between "stay the course" and "cut and run." So what's in between? "Stability First" and "Redeploy and Contain," according to the New York Sun's reporting. The Sun argues that both options leave out "the long-term vision of democracy in Iraq with regular elections." But the Sun doesn't make clear the extent to which "Stability First"--the apparently preferred choice--would give up on the current, elected Maliki government. Nor is it clear from the Sun's scoop what anti-democratic concessions might be made in the negotiations Baker envisions with Iraq and Syria. More leaks needed. [via JustOneMinute] 11:50 A.M.

MediaNews' Sacramento bureau on California's 2006 contrarianism:

Across the country, Republicans are taking a beating: ...[snip] ... Yet, oddly enough, in California it may be Democrats who have the most reason to fear Election Day. Not only does their gubernatorial candidate, Phil Angelides, trail Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger heavily in the polls, but there is growing concern that if Angelides does not inspire Democrats to vote, low party turnout could seal the fate of other vulnerable Democrats — and even left-leaning ballot propositions. [E.A.]
As blogger Steve Smith has noted, this may require a reevaluation of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's decision to support an incumbent-protection gerrymander of California's House districts--as opposed to a less-safe line-drawing that would have let Democrats capitalize on a "wave" of support. It turns out that California's Democrats are so weak there probably won't be a wave! Pelosi brilliantly anticipated this failure.

Old CW on Pelosi: Weak, short-sighted hack.

New CW on Pelosi: Clairvoyant and cunning!
4:14 P.M.

Next on Oprah: Andrew Sullivan and Mark Halperin, "When Blogs Become Flogs" ... 4:15 PA.M.

Just a reminder: With Mel Gibson, there may be more going on than just alcohol ... or alcohol + anti-Semitism ... or even alcohol + anti-Semitism + "rage." ... I again refer readers to the last paragraph of this pro-Mel puffer. ... ... 3:19 P.M.

"Food Stamps in Four Hours": You think Ronald Reagan could have gotten some campaign mileage out of this LAT story lauding a program that gets "immigrants who are reluctant to get help from the government" to sign up for food stamps? ... Wake up, Republicans! You've got to make your meal out of the ingredients at hand.... And don't worry that any criticism of food stamps-for-immigrants will alienate Latinos--the vast majority of whom almost certainly share mainstream attitudes about welfare. Indeed, the point of the LAT's story is that the Latino work ethic is so strong that they disproportionately resist welfare:

"The Mexican man is macho. He doesn't want to come to this country and beg," said Alfonso Chavez, the Community Action Partnership's outreach coordinator. [E.A.]

Luckily, an innovative Department of Agriculture program enables Community Action Partnership to break down these archaic anti-begging prejudices! ...

P.S.: What's most amazing about the LAT story is writer Jennifer Delson's insistence on portraying this as a great thing ("Food Stamp Program Finally Speaks Their Language"). I can't tell if she's clueless or consciously propagandizing. ...

P.P.S.: Food stamps were the one welfare program to survive the 1996 welfare reform. That was the deal struck, and it's not unreasonable. The food aid is there for those who need it. But doesn't mean the government should go around encouraging people to come get their dole on. If low-income Americans are too committed to self-sufficiency to sign up for food stamps, as many are, that's a pride to be valued and respected, no? ...It's doubly problematic to affirmatively recruit new welfare recipients when many of the beneficiaries will be recent immigrants, including illegal immigrants (whose American-born children are eligible for food stamps, according to the LAT). You don't have to be a Minuteman to worry about the incentive structure this creates: 'Cross the border, have an 'anchor baby,' get free food.' ... [via Drudge] 12:50 A.M. link

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