USDA weighs in on immigration law

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - "My boss is the President of the United States."

USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Audrey Rowe has a global perspective on nutrition. Her task: making sure everyone who lives in this country has the opportunity to have a healthy diet, through school lunches like the students she visited at Highland Gardens Elementary or through Federal assistance.

"It's a Homeland Security issue, it's an educational issue" states Rowe.

The concept of "farm to school" is a new initiative with the USDA.

In Alabama, farmers are concerned the fresh produce in their fields may never make to the table, because the new immigration law is scaring away their migrant workers.  Rowe says Alabama isn't alone with it's immigration issues.

"We've been dealing with this a long time. There are many states moving in the direction."

Rowe says one misconception with many immigration laws involves eligibility for Federal programs.

Despite their origin or immigrant status, everyone who lives in the U.S. can legally apply for WIC and SNAP; programs that provide nutrition and assistance to low-income families.

"What we don't want the laws to do is impact on individuals, so they don't want to apply, or they're worried to apply."

So far, the Alabama Department of Public Health hasn't seen an increase or decrease in services for WIC.  Administrators say it's simply too soon to tell.

For more information on WIC or SNAP, please see the links below:

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