Food Stamps and Fingerprinting
October 21, 2011
As we prepare for the Food Stamp Challenge, I have received a number of questions about fingerprinting. Some of the participants are not comfortable being fingerprinted to participate in a program. You see, part of the process for registering for the challenge is to go to Campus Safety and have your fingerprints taken. This is designed to mirror a part of the application process for people in the state of California (and others) who want to apply for food stamps. Now I certainly understand the discomfort, but it's a fact of life for so many people. To help you understand some of the issues surrounding the fingerprinting requirement I wanted to post a short piece here with some of the resources that I've come across in this process. First, there is the general feeling of criminalization that goes along with it. This is an issue not only with the fingerprinting process, but there is also a sense that poverty has been criminalized in the U.S. in general. In addition to the stigma and fears surrounding fingerprinting on a local level, there are also federal implications. With the implementation of the Secure Communities program, there are new fears surrounding deportations resulting from the sharing of fingerprint information between local jurisdictions, the FBI, and ICE. Fortunately, there is a bill that passed the California Assembly this summer that is working to remove fingerprinting from the application process. There has also been another study helping support the cause and encouraging Governor Brown to sign the bill into law. All of this is to say that the issue is quite contentious, and I'm glad to hear that there are conversations happening about it on campus.