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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Fix, Michael
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2009

    The lore of the immigrant who comes to the United States to take advantage of our welfare system has a long history in America’s collective mythology, but it has little basis in fact. The so-called problem of immigrants on the dole was nonetheless a major concern of the 1996 welfare reform law, the impact of which is still playing out today. While legal immigrants continue to pay taxes and are eligible for the draft, welfare reform has severely limited their access to government supports in times of crisis. Edited by Michael Fix, Immigrants and Welfare rigorously assesses the welfare reform law, questions whether its immigrant provisions were ever really necessary, and examines its impact on legal immigrants’ ability to integrate into American society.

    Immigrants and Welfare draws on fields from demography and law to developmental psychology. The first part of the volume probes the politics behind the welfare reform law, its legal underpinnings, and what it may mean for integration policy. Contributor Ron Haskins makes a case for welfare reform’s ultimate success but...

    The lore of the immigrant who comes to the United States to take advantage of our welfare system has a long history in America’s collective mythology, but it has little basis in fact. The so-called problem of immigrants on the dole was nonetheless a major concern of the 1996 welfare reform law, the impact of which is still playing out today. While legal immigrants continue to pay taxes and are eligible for the draft, welfare reform has severely limited their access to government supports in times of crisis. Edited by Michael Fix, Immigrants and Welfare rigorously assesses the welfare reform law, questions whether its immigrant provisions were ever really necessary, and examines its impact on legal immigrants’ ability to integrate into American society.

    Immigrants and Welfare draws on fields from demography and law to developmental psychology. The first part of the volume probes the politics behind the welfare reform law, its legal underpinnings, and what it may mean for integration policy. Contributor Ron Haskins makes a case for welfare reform’s ultimate success but cautions that excluding noncitizen children (future workers) from benefits today will inevitably have serious repercussions for the American economy down the road. Michael Wishnie describes the implications of the law for equal protection of immigrants under the U.S. Constitution.

    The second part of the book focuses on empirical research regarding immigrants’ propensity to use benefits before the law passed, and immigrants’ use and hardship levels afterwards. Jennifer Van Hook and Frank Bean analyze immigrants’ benefit use before the law was passed in order to address the contested sociological theories that immigrants are inclined to welfare use and that it slows their assimilation. Randy Capps, Michael Fix, and Everett Henderson track trends before and after welfare reform in legal immigrants’ use of the major federal benefit programs affected by the law. Leighton Ku looks specifically at trends in food stamps and Medicaid use among noncitizen children and adults and documents the declining health insurance coverage of noncitizen parents and children. Finally, Ariel Kalil and Danielle Crosby use longitudinal data from Chicago to examine the health of children in immigrant families that left welfare.

    Even though few states took the federal government’s invitation with the 1996 welfare reform law to completely freeze legal immigrants out of the social safety net, many of the law’s most far-reaching provisions remain in place and have significant implications for immigrants. Immigrants and Welfare takes a balanced look at the politics and history of immigrant access to safety-net supports and the ongoing impacts of welfare. (author abstract) 

    Table of Contents

    Chapter 1: Immigrants and Welfare: Overview - Michael Fix, Randy Capps, and Neeraj Kaushal

    Part I - Political and Legal Context

    Chapter 2: Limiting Welfare Benefits for Noncitizens: Emergence of Compromises - Ron Haskins

    Chapter 3: Welfare Reform after a Decade: Integration, Exclusion, and Immigration Federalism - Michael Wishnie

    Part II - Trends in Benefit Use and Reform's Impacts

    Chapter 4: Immigrant Welfare Receipt: Implications for Immigrant Settlement and Integration - Jennifer Van Hook and Frank Bean

    Chapter 5: Trends in Immigrants' Use of Public Assistance after Welfare Reform - Randy Capps, Michael Fix, and Everett Henderson

    Chapter 6: Changes in Immigrants' Use of Medicaid and Food Stamps: The Role of Eligibility and Other Factors - Leighton Ku

    Chapter 7: Welfare-Leaving and Child Health and Behavior in Immigrant and Native Families - Ariel Kalil and Danielle Crosby

  • Individual Author: Kumanyika, Shiriki; Grier, Sonya
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2006

    Although rates of childhood obesity among the general population are alarmingly high, they are higher still in ethnic minority and low-income communities. The disparities pose a major challenge for policymakers and practitioners planning strategies for obesity prevention. In this article Shiriki Kumanyika and Sonya Grier summarize differences in childhood obesity prevalence by race and ethnicity and by socioeconomic status. They show how various environmental factors can have larger effects on disadvantaged and minority children than on their advantaged white peers—and thus contribute to disparities in obesity rates.

    The authors show, for example, that low-income and minority children watch more television than white, non-poor children and are potentially exposed to more commercials advertising high-calorie, low-nutrient food during an average hour of TV programming. They note that neighborhoods where low-income and minority children live typically have more fast-food restaurants and fewer vendors of healthful foods than do wealthier or predominantly white neighborhoods....

    Although rates of childhood obesity among the general population are alarmingly high, they are higher still in ethnic minority and low-income communities. The disparities pose a major challenge for policymakers and practitioners planning strategies for obesity prevention. In this article Shiriki Kumanyika and Sonya Grier summarize differences in childhood obesity prevalence by race and ethnicity and by socioeconomic status. They show how various environmental factors can have larger effects on disadvantaged and minority children than on their advantaged white peers—and thus contribute to disparities in obesity rates.

    The authors show, for example, that low-income and minority children watch more television than white, non-poor children and are potentially exposed to more commercials advertising high-calorie, low-nutrient food during an average hour of TV programming. They note that neighborhoods where low-income and minority children live typically have more fast-food restaurants and fewer vendors of healthful foods than do wealthier or predominantly white neighborhoods. They cite such obstacles to physical activity as unsafe streets, dilapidated parks, and lack of facilities. In the schools that low-income and minority children attend, however, they see opportunities to lead the way to effective obesity prevention. Finally, the authors examine several aspects of the home environment—breast-feeding, television viewing, and parental behaviors—that may contribute to childhood obesity but be amenable to change through targeted intervention.

    Kumanyika and Grier point out that policymakers aiming to prevent obesity can use many existing policy levers to reach ethnic minority and low-income children and families: Medicaid, the State Child Health Insurance Program, and federal nutrition “safety net” programs. Ultimately, winning the fight against childhood obesity in minority and low-income communities will depend on the nation's will to change the social and physical environments in which these communities exist. (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Holcomb, Pamela A.; Tumlin, Karen; Koralek, Robin; Capps, Randy; Zuberi, Anita
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    This report explores one key dimension of access to public benefits—the application and eligibility determination process. Of particular interest is how local-level administrative procedures and operations may generally affect eligible families' access to benefits. Special consideration is given to exploring these issues as they relate to immigrants and limited English speakers.

    The four major public benefits programs examined in this study are Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The findings presented are primarily based on site visits conducted between June 2001 and December 2001 in six different localities: New York City (five counties/NY), Dallas (Dallas and Tarrant Counties/TX), Seattle (King County/WA), Raleigh (Wake County/NC), Arlington (Arlington County/VA), and Sedalia (Pettis County/MO). The sites vary in terms of the overall size of their client base and the diversity of the immigrant population, and the way in which application and eligibility determination processes...

    This report explores one key dimension of access to public benefits—the application and eligibility determination process. Of particular interest is how local-level administrative procedures and operations may generally affect eligible families' access to benefits. Special consideration is given to exploring these issues as they relate to immigrants and limited English speakers.

    The four major public benefits programs examined in this study are Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The findings presented are primarily based on site visits conducted between June 2001 and December 2001 in six different localities: New York City (five counties/NY), Dallas (Dallas and Tarrant Counties/TX), Seattle (King County/WA), Raleigh (Wake County/NC), Arlington (Arlington County/VA), and Sedalia (Pettis County/MO). The sites vary in terms of the overall size of their client base and the diversity of the immigrant population, and the way in which application and eligibility determination processes are structured and implemented. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Aratani, Yumiko; Heflin, Colleen
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2017

    The nation’s old, predominantly white population is being replaced by children of racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. The ability of the safety net to adapt will determine how well these groups are able to successfully transition into stable, self-sufficient adults. (Author introduction)

    The nation’s old, predominantly white population is being replaced by children of racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. The ability of the safety net to adapt will determine how well these groups are able to successfully transition into stable, self-sufficient adults. (Author introduction)

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