Under HB 56, Alabama’s Harsh Immigration Law, American Children of Undocumented Immigrants Denied Food Stamps in Violation of Federal Law
An Alabama civil rights law firm claims that children who are U.S. citizens from families in which one or both parents are undocumented immigrants are being denied food stamps under the state’s harsh immigration law.
According to The Raw Story, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says that American children from at least five families have been refused benefits, with state officials from the Department of Human Services citing HB 56, the tough new anti-“illegal” immigration law passed last year. Under HB 56, it is illegal to conduct “business transactions” with undocumented workers.
“We have heard from a number of people that several localities in Alabama have adopted the policy that they’re required to verify the status of parents who are trying to help their kids apply for food stamps — even if they themselves are not applying for food stamps,” SPLC legal director Mary Bauer told The Raw Story.
“Of course, that is illegal under federal law,” she added. It is– U.S. citizens are entitled to benefits regardless of the citizenship status of their parents.
“The localities are essentially saying that they are required to do this by Alabama’s immigration law,” Bauer continued. “What that means is that we have hungry U.S. citizen kids who are unable to get the benefits to which they are legally entitled.”
Barry Spear, a spokesman for the Department of Human Services, told The Raw Story that the agency does not require proof of citizenship for services.
“We are unaware of any violations of the policy,” he said.
HB 56 author Scott Beason, a Republican state senator, told WBRC that SPLC’s allegations were “not necessarily factual.”
But the organization, one of the most venerable civil rights groups in the nation, is not known to make factually incorrect assertions.
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