*UPDATE* Federal Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Preventing Termination of Food Assistance Program for Legal Immigrants
Federal Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Preventing Termination of Food Assistance Program for Legal Immigrants
On February 17th, 2011, a federal district court judge in Washington issued a preliminary injunction against the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) in a class action lawsuit filed by legal immigrants in danger of losing their food assistance. The court found that the Department’s decision to terminate its state-funded, food assistance program for more than 10,000 legal immigrant households, while continuing to spend state funds to administer its federal food assistance program for other recipients, violated the rights of legal immigrants to equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The court also found that DSHS did not provide adequate notice to the affected families. Columbia Legal Services represents the plaintiff and was appointed class counsel. If you receive food assistance from DSHS, please read this client handout.
What should you do?
• Read the client handout, available in English and Spanish.
• If you are a legal immigrant who was told your food assistance was being terminated or reduced because of funding cuts and DSHS did not send you notice stating they were reinstating your food assistance or you need a replacement Quest card, ask DSHS for help. Call 1-877-501-2233 or visit the local DSHS office. If you need help understanding or enforcing your rights under the preliminary injunction and reside outside King County contact the CLEAR Hotline toll-free at 1-888-201-1014 weekdays from 9:15 a.m. until 12:15 p.m. If you reside in King County, call 211 for information and referral to an appropriate legal services provider Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm.If you still need more help, call Columbia Legal Services toll-free at 1-800-260-6260, extension 207.
You can view the following court documents by clicking on them:
- Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
- Order Granting Class Certification and Temporary Restraining Order
- Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction
You can also read a DSHS memo to its staff regarding the Food Assistance Program and the court case: