Fearing Deportation, Immigrants Bail on Food Stamps

Fearing eventual deportation for using publicly-funded social services, immigrants are bailing out of taxpayer-funded nutrition programs, like SNAP, hoping to not catch the attention of immigration officials, reports the Washington Post

President Trump’s executive order on protecting taxpayer resources and ensuring immigrant accountability, yet to be finalized, asked the Department of Homeland Security to “propose a rule to provide standards for determining whether an alien within five years of entry is deportable for becoming a public charge.”  According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of non-citizens and refugees, as well as citizen children who have used SNAP since 2002 has tripled to 5.7 million people nationally.  

While national statistics are not available, anecdotal evidence from states like Arizona, where 49 percent of immigrant households with children receive food assistance, show voluntary withdrawals from SNAP doubled between November and February. In other states, eligible immigrants are simply refusing to sign up.

Those who make a living arguing that immigrants are not a drain on public benefits might have a tough time lodging complains about immigrants’ loss of benefits they’re supposedly not using. FAIR estimates that illegal aliens alone use $2.26 billion in reduced or free meal programs and $1.03 billion in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.


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