Immigration Reform

Bread for the World sees global progress against poverty as progress against hunger as well. One of the major reasons people leave their home countries is to escape poverty and improve their livelihoods.

While reducing poverty may not be the primary goal of most contemporary immigration policy-reform efforts, it should certainly be one of its clear goals.

Studies consistently indicate that immigration contributes to U.S. economic growth and higher incomes for most Americans, including those born here.

Santiago Cruz, a farmer in Oaxaca, Mexico. Photo: Laura Pohl / Bread for the World

Immigrants face poverty in the United States

Unauthorized immigrants suffer disproportionately from food insecurity and poverty once they arrive in the United States. This is true even though they earn more money here than in their home countries. No group of immigrants is more harmed by hunger and poverty than those without documentation. Lack of legal status contributes to their economic insecurity and exploitation. It also means that they have limited access to the social safety net in the United States.

Thirty-four percent of U.S.-born children of unauthorized immigrant adults live in poverty. This is almost double the 18 percent rate for the children of U.S.-born adults.

Poverty persists among undocumented immigrants even though they participate in the workforce at higher rates than either citizens or documented immigrants. Our economy depends upon the hard work of undocumented immigrants, but does not adequately compensate them. According to the Department of Labor, at least half of all farm workers in the United States are undocumented.

Photo: Bread for the World

Why Bread supports immigration reform

Bread supports immigration reform because a substantial percentage of undocumented immigrants in the United States live in poverty and because comprehensive immigration reform would help them escape hunger. We advocate for legislation that ensures a place at the table for everyone in the United States, regardless of legal status. And we anticipate that hundreds of thousands of people would be moved out of hunger and poverty almost immediately if they are given a pathway to citizenship.

Immigration reform also fits Bread’s international agenda. We add specific value to the immigration reform discussion by focusing on its root causes: hunger and poverty in home countries. Our longstanding advocacy for poverty-focused development assistance is one way that we help moderate the flow of immigrants to the United States. In fact, international development was an important part of the last major immigration reform — during the Reagan administration. Policy makers recognized that they could reduce the flow of immigrants and increase political stability and expand markets for U.S. exports if they invested in the countries from which immigrants were coming.

Bread supports efforts that reduce hunger in the United States and abroad. This can be accomplished by comprehensive immigration reform in the United States while providing development assistance to countries with high poverty rates.

from our Resource Library

For Education

  • The Nourishing Effect

    Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.

  • The Impacts of Proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Cuts on the Latino Community

    To end hunger and poverty in the United States by 2030, our country needs to support a budget that improves the lives of men, women, and children. Unfortunately, the Trump administration and Congress are proposing dramatic cuts to programs that promote economic opportunity or provide food...

  • The Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615 & H.R. 3440)


    The United States is a nation of immigrants. Throughout its history, people have moved here from all over the world and have contributed to their communities and our national life. Today, as in the past, immigrants are also creating prosperity for this nation. 


For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

    A brief examination of the biblical approach to health as a hunger issue.

    Includes an introduction to the issue, a Scriptural reflection, practical actions you can take, and a prayer.

  • Bread Newsletter January 2016

    In this issue: Another Great Year for Bread; Catholics Begin Observance of Holy Year of Mercy; Serving on ‘God’s Wave Length’ for 39 Years; and more.

  • Interfaith Religious Leaders’ Pledge to End Hunger

    A wide array of the nation’s faith leaders have come together on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival in the United States to commit ourselves to encourage our communities to work for the end of hunger by 2030 and, toward that end, for a shift in U.S. national priorities.

    We are deeply pleased...

For Advocacy

  • Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit

    A set of how-to sheets for carrying out advocacy and fact sheets on the current issues Bread for the World is working on.

    For new and current Bread grassroots hunger activists.

    Ideal as a starter toolkit for new Bread activists or as a set of updates for current activists.


  • The State of Black Poverty: A Pan-African Millennial Perspective on Ending Hunger by 2030

    Over the past year and a half, about two-dozen young adults from the United States and countries in Africa and the Caribbean, have gathered virtually and in person to reflect on the effects of hunger and poverty in black communities. The working group has been considering socio-political and...

  • Fact Sheet: The Hunger-Medicaid Connection

    Congress is considering proposals that would jeopardize healthcare coverage for millions of poor and near-poor adults and children. 

    Legislation under consideration in the House and Senate would gut...