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Sessions Asking for USDA to Provide Information About Mexican/US Govt. Combined Effort to Recruit More Food Stamp Recipients

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Thursday, Senator Jeff Sessions (R) from Alabama announced that is office is beginning a preliminary investigation into what exactly the USDA was doing in its program to use Mexican Consular offices to promote the American Food Stamp program.

Sen. Sessions sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking for information about the matter.  Sen. Sessions wrote, “The USDA has an ongoing partnership with the Mexican Government as part of a campaign to increase food stamp enrollment among both citizen and non-citizen immigrants, including those who may only reside in the country part-time. My Budget Committee staff recently asked USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to furnish materials relating to this partnership and the expenditure of taxpayer dollars, such as SNAP literature that is being distributed through Mexican consular offices. Despite these requests, that material has not been provided.”

Sen. Sessions went on to ask Sec. Vilsack for: “1.  All Memorandums of Understanding between USDA and the Mexican Government regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other USDA welfare programs,” “2.      A list of all programs, meetings, or other activities involving USDA and the Mexican Government to increase enrollment, as well as a copy of all literature, brochures, posters, or other outreach materials distributed or displayed by Mexican consulates related to the food stamp program,”  “3.      Any internal documents regarding guidance provided by USDA to the Mexican Government concerning strategies for increasing enrollment,”  “4.      To USDA’s knowledge, is any SNAP outreach information being distributed by the Mexican Government within its own borders?”  “5.      To USDA’s knowledge, are individuals completing applications for SNAP, as well as other related benefits contained on SNAP forms such as SSI, TANF, WIC, etc., within consulate offices?”  “6.      How many non-citizen immigrants have been enrolled in SNAP in each of the last ten years?”

Illegal aliens are not eligible for the food stamp program; but the Obama administration and the states don’t check every applicant to see if they really have legal status or not.  Congresswoman Roby has introduced an amendment to the farm bill that would require states to use E-verify or a similar system to check to see if a food stamp applicant is lawfully in the United States and thus is eligible to apply or not.

Sen. Sessions said, “It has become increasingly clear that the mission of the food stamp program has moved from targeted welfare assistance for those in need into an aggressive drive to expand enrollment regardless of need.”

Under President Obama’s administration the number of Americans (legal or not) has grown dramatically.  In just the last two years the number of Americans who are dependent on some sort of government dependency program has grown by 23%……the largest increase since the Carter Presidency.  The number of Americans receiving Food Stamps (SNAP) has grown from 28 million in 2008 to 45 million in 2011.

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Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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