Twenty-five faith-based organizations are encouraging President Bush to restore benefits to legal immigrants and their children by supporting new legislation and funding in the federal budget.
In a letter to the president, the organizations urged the administration to allow legal immigrants to participate in the Food Stamp Program and to give states the option of restoring benefits to legal immigrant children and pregnant women under Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Under current law, pregnant women and children who are legal residents and arrived in the United States after Aug. 22, 1996, are barred for five years from receiving Medicaid and SCHIP benefits.
"Immigrants pay taxes to support services to others; they too should have access to assistance when they fall ill," the letter stated. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the average immigrant contributes $1,800 more each year in taxes than he or she receives in benefits from federal, state, and local governments.
Organizations signing the letter include the , , , the , the , , the , , and the .