Illegal Immigrants Are Opting Out of America’s Food Stamp Program

The fear of being deported has caused some illegal immigrants to forgo federal food assistance, meaning President Donald Trump’s rhetoric may be saving taxpayers more money than his actual policies are.

People who are not legal residents of the United States are not eligible to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP or food stamps. However, they can get food stamps for any children born in the U.S.

So, a household that includes two illegal immigrant parents and U.S. citizen children would still be eligible for the SNAP program provided they meet income and other guidelines. Therefore, undocumented aliens are receiving food stamps and other public benefits like Medicaid through their citizen children, even if they are not personally counted in the determination.

As of 2015, about 3.9 million citizen children living with undocumented immigrants receive food stamps in the United States, according to the USDA, which administers and oversees the SNAP program. Under the former administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture paid to run advertisements in Mexico to promote U.S. food stamps to citizens there so that they would be aware of this benefit should they choose to come to the United States.

The advertisements were run under the Obama administration as part of the Omnibus spending bill, according to Breitbart News.

The current president’s views on immigration differ significantly from those of his predecessor. Unlike the previous administration, President Trump has taken a hard stance on illegal immigration – that is, he is seeking to uphold existing federal immigration law.

In January, the president signed an executive order to start building a border wall and broadening the criteria under which undocumented aliens can be deported. He also vowed to beef up U.S. security by increasing the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

The president’s actions have resulted in some in illegal immigrants deciding to forgo receiving food stamp assistance. Undocumented immigrants don’t want to put their name and address on the SNAP application forms because they are afraid that it might lead authorities to single them out for deportation.

The outreach coordinator for the Chattanooga Food Bank tells the Washington Post that five of her families have withdrawn from the SNAP program since January. Based on the calls that she has been getting from illegal immigrants, she believes that more immigrant families will decline food assistance in the future.

Yahoo News interviewed an undocumented immigrant named Rosa, who used to get about $190 a month in food stamps but has decided to stop taking benefits due to deportation fears. So, how is she getting by now? She told Yahoo that she gets help from other family members as well as a local church.

Another illegal immigrant from Honduras decided not to renew her food stamps when they expired this past January. Yahoo News reported that she feared deportation if she continued to take part in the food assistance program.

Now, she typically makes about $350 a week answering phones at a local business. After losing her food stamps, the Honduran immigrant decided to work extra hours cleaning homes to make up for the loss of $150 in food stamps – suggesting she didn’t need much assistance to begin with.

Illegal immigration sympathizers often say that if immigrants refuse food stamp assistance because of deportation fears, then children will go hungry. This has proven to be moral blackmail from America’s left.

Undocumented aliens have too much access to public benefits as it is. According to reports by the Heritage Foundation, immigrants take far more out of the public welfare system than they pay into it.

Illegal immigrants are making a choice to stay in the United States. No one forced them to sneak into the U.S., and no one is demanding that they stay. Illegal immigrants broke the law to come to the U.S. If they choose to stay in the U.S., then why should hard working American citizens shoulder the burden of feeding their families? Many Americans already feel financially taxed as it is.

If people moving into America wish to support their families, the burden should rest on the immigrants themselves. Many can apparently survive without taxpayer money, but choose not to – and the sudden drop in SNAP applications prove that.

In fact, as noted with the immigrant from Honduras in the example above, many can work additional hours or get assistance from relatives to help feed their families.

Encouraging immigrants to work rather than receiving food stamps and other assistance programs will contribute to reducing government waste, and help make the economy healthier for all – including immigrants.

~ Conservative Zone


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