Policy: Entitlements

USDA to Mexico: Illegal immigrants can have food stamps

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Politics Digest,Immigration,Agriculture,Entitlements,Mexico

With food stamp spending in the United States skyrocketing since the beginning of the recession, the Department of Agriculture is paying to promote food stamp usage to illegal immigrants for the sake of their American children, according to documents obtained by a government watchdog.

“The promotion of the food stamp program, now known as “SNAP” (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA with a statement advising Mexicans in the U.S. that they do not need to declare their immigration status in order to receive financial assistance,” Judicial Watch announced today.  “Emphasized in bold and underlined, the statement reads, ‘You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.’”

The USDA said the program is designed to help American children. “[The USDA Food and Nutrition Service] understands that mixed status households may be particularly vulnerable,” FNS’ Yibo Wood wrote to Mexican embassy officials in a January 2012 email.   “Many of these households contain a non-citizen parent and a citizen child.”

The food stamp program may be cut when Congress moves to pass a farm bill this year. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., introduced a bill last week to cut $30 billion from the $760 billion the program is expected to spend over the next ten years.

“Since President Obama came into office, SNAP participation has increased at 10 times the rate of job creation, the annual spending on SNAP has doubled, and one in seven Americans now participates in SNAP,” Thune said in a statement on the bill.  “This explosive growth in both the SNAP enrollment and federal cost of the program is alarming and requires lawmakers to take cost-effective legislative control measures.”

“We save taxpayers $30 billion and make sure that families in need still receive a helping hand,” Stutzman added. “This is a common-sense start for Congress’ Farm Bill discussions as we look for ways to tackle Washington’s nearly $17 trillion debt.”

 

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