“1.5 million noncitizens received food stamps in the 2015 fiscal year”
Obama, dubbed “the food stamp president,” presided over an alarming increase in the number of people on food stamps: as of 2013, there was a 70% increase from 2008 in the number of people on food stamps.
Now it appears that illegal aliens, as well as legal aliens and those illegals who head households that include legal aliens, are cancelling their SNAP benefits because of their perception that being on food stamps will either draw the attention of ICE or impair their chance of becoming U. S. citizens.
In the two months since President Trump’s inauguration, food banks and hunger advocates around the country have noted a decline in the number of eligible immigrants applying for SNAP — and an uptick in immigrants seeking to withdraw from the program.
Their fear, advocates say, is that participation could draw the eye of Immigration and Customs Enforcement or hurt their chances of attaining citizenship. Without federal nutrition benefits, many are resorting to food pantries and soup kitchens to feed themselves and their children.
The evidence is still anecdotal — and The Washington Post was unable to speak directly with immigrants who chose to cancel their SNAP benefits.
“This is a response to the climate of fear and terror that immigrant families are living in because of the Trump administration,” said Jackie Vimo, a policy analyst at the National Immigration Law Center. “These are unfounded fears. But they’re based in this environment, and they’re very widespread.”
According to the Department of Agriculture, 1.5 million noncitizens received food stamps in the 2015 fiscal year, as did 3.9 million citizen children living with noncitizen adults.
. . . . Legal immigrants worry that receiving SNAP could reflect on them negatively during the citizenship vetting process. Undocumented immigrants, applying on behalf of their children, are increasingly wary about any interaction with the government.
In 2013, then Senator Jeff Sessions requested further information about the number of people on food stamps and about those households in which illegal aliens apply for benefits on behalf of eligible legal members of the household.
“You emphasized that food stamp eligibility ‘has never been extended’ to illegal aliens. However, as you know, illegal immigrants can apply for food stamp benefits on behalf of eligible members of their households,” he wrote.
“To the extent that illegal immigrants do not have to expend their own resources to purchase food on behalf of others, they obviously benefit from that taxpayer-funded assistance. Does your Department have any estimates of total SNAP benefits provided to households headed by an illegal immigrant on behalf of eligible dependents?” Sessions asked, going on to request similar information on legal immigrants with illegal dependents.
In 2016, a report was released that showed “food stamp benefits average about $255 a month per household, suggesting that the the [sic] yearly payout to households with illegals ranges from $1.4 billion to $2.14 billion.”