Immigrants, Welfare Reform, and the Poverty of Policy

Immigrants, Welfare Reform, and the Poverty of Policy

Immigrants, Welfare Reform, and the Poverty of Policy

Immigrants, Welfare Reform, and the Poverty of Policy

Synopsis

The United States continues to be a nation of immigrants. This is the first book length treatment of the impact of the 1996 welfare reform act on a wide range of immigrant groups in North America. Contributors to the book draw on ethnographic fieldwork, government data, and original survey research to show how welfare reform has reinforced socio-economic hardships for working poor immigrants. As the essays reveal, reform laws have increased the social isolation of poor immigrant households and discouraged large numbers of qualified immigrants from applying for health and welfare services. All of the articles highlight the importance of examining federal policy guidelines in conjunction with local enforcement policies, labor market dynamics, and immigrant attitudes toward government agencies.

Excerpt

In January 1999, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) launched the Devolution Initiative, a project that was designed to assess the outcomes of the Welfare Reform Act (also known as the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act [PRWORA]) that had been passed by the Clinton administration in 1996. Under this new federal mandate, the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) became the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which gave states the fundamental responsibility for program design and the funds to develop their own, local versions of welfare reform under general guidelines of the reform act, as administered by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The theory of the wkkf Devolution Initiative was that a set of research- and policy-oriented organizations at the national level would be funded to develop original research on the new tanf welfare programs and the attitude of the public toward welfare reform in general. This information would then be filtered down to coalitions of organizations in five carefully selected pilot states (New York, Wisconsin, Florida, Mississippi, and Washington) that were working to strengthen institutional linkages between the new tanf programs and the public, especially low-income families that were most specifically affected by welfare reform. These organizations were also charged with the responsibility of presenting the research findings to decision makers in state bureaucracies and legislatures, with the hopes of improving welfare policy and supporting the efforts of the tanf program to move low income persons to sustained, productive employment.

As it actually began to function however, the coalitions at the state level felt that research derived from local case studies (as opposed to national or statewide surveys) would better serve the constituents they represented. Kellogg Foundation representatives also felt that the development and interpretation of this information would

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.