Assemblymember Nguyen co-authors California Senate Bill to extend food assistance to undocumented residents

Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D -Bakersfield) testifies before the California State Senate Human Services Committee. | 

California Assemblymember Stephanie Nguyen (D - Elk Grove) has added her support to legislation working its way through the California State Senate. That legislation, Senate Bill 245, is called the California Food Assistance Program CFAP): eligibility and benefits.  

During a State Senate Human Services Committee hearing yesterday, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D - Bakersfield), said it would modernize and expand eligibility for state-funded nutrition programs previously ineligible to residents based on their immigration status.

"The bill provides greater food security to low-income immigrant workers, helping lift them out of poverty as Cal Fresh has proven to do so," she said. 

Hurtado introduced Benyamin Chao of the California Immigrant Policy Center, who testified before the committee in support. Chao emphasized that hundreds of thousands of undocumented individuals work in the state and pay local and state taxes but cannot secure nutrition assistance. 

"SB 245 would increase access to the California Food assistance program by removing the exclusions of income-eligible Californians due to their immigration status or age," Chao said.  

After citing several statistics, Chao said, "I strongly urge you to pass SB 245 to end the racist and xenophobic exclusion of Californians from CFAP due to their immigration status." 

Hurtado and Chao's entire testimony can be viewed in the four-minute video below. 

Nguyen is one of eight assembly members sponsoring the bill. Nguyen's office did not respond to an email request to comment on her participation. 

Before her 2022 election to the assembly, Nguyen was the executive director of Sacramento-based Asian Resoures Inc. (ARI) and an Elk Grove City Council member. ARI provides clientele with direct services and access to various programs for in-need communities. 

The bill passed 4 -0 and will move to the senate appropriations committee. The cost of the proposed expansion of benefits will be determined when the senate fiscal committee hears it.  

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