Friday, 20 July 2012

USDA Enlists Mexican Govt to Spread the Word About Food Stamps

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From his grant of amnesty to his shuttering of border patrol stations, President Obama is doing all he can to help those illegally present in the United States to have every incentive to pull the lever for him in November.

As if those favors weren’t enough, now comes word that the Obama administration is continuing a partnership with the government of Mexico to help Mexicans living in the United States get food stamps.

Several sources are reporting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture that manages the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, is enlisting the aid of the government of Mexico in its quest to seek out new candidates for this already much abused “entitlement.”

“USDA and the government of Mexico have entered into a partnership to help educate eligible Mexican nationals living in the United States about available nutrition assistance,” the USDA explains on its web page entitled “Reaching Low-Income Hispanics With Nutrition Assistance.” “Mexico will help disseminate this information through its embassy and network of approximately 50 consular offices.”

To clarify: The government of the United States is asking the government of Mexico to spread the word to its ex-pats living in America (legally or otherwise) that there is plenty of money in the welfare trough and they'd better hurry or they might miss getting a prime spot.

Now, lest Republicans get caught pointing the finger at Barack Obama, there is one important part of the story that remains to be told.

The agreement that created the Mexican-American joint venture of spreading the news of the availability of welfare was signed in 2004 by Bush administration Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman. Veneman, in partnership with Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Ernesto Derbez Bautista, initiated the program in 2004 to ensure that Mexican Americans and Mexican nationals working in America were apprised of how to go about qualifying and applying for food stamps.

The purpose of this unholy alliance: to remove roadblocks preventing “deserving” families from finding the help they need in their own language in order to get enrolled in SNAP.

Various such materials are available from the USDA “en español.” In fact, the agency’s website has a Spanish-language tab where information can be downloaded and printed materials in Spanish also may be ordered on the site or obtained from the Mexican embassy or local consular offices which receive boxes of the pamphlets from the USDA.

A quick glance at the USDA website reveals that there is no doubt that one of the chief aims of this appeal to Mexicans (again, whether here with or without the proper documentation) is to make it crystal clear how they can go about assuring their eligibility for food stamps. While education may be the stated goal, it seems certain that the unspoken purpose of the outreach program is to create a larger class of people dependent upon the federal government for its sustenance. This stratum will thus inherit a political potency that will demand attention and assistance from every subsequent Congress and president, regardless of party affiliation.

One senator seems to recognize the arc of this evil plot. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. In a letter to current Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Sessions claimed that Mexican immigrants are being encouraged to get on the dole instead of getting a job:

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.

In his letter, Sessions reminds Vilsack that he had requested USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to furnish documents relating to the partnership with Mexico, including all literature publicizing the program printed at taxpayer expense. Sessions says the request has not been heeded.

The Sessions letter specifically asks that the following information be provided by the Department of Agriculture:

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?

7. Under current regulations illegal immigrants may obtain food stamp benefits for their household if other members of the household are deemed eligible but not for themselves.  States must determine if applicants (or household members for whom the benefits are sought) are citizens or are qualified aliens eligible for benefits. Verification standards, however, vary widely. Applicants need only attest that they are citizens of the United States, and the state must accept that attestation as conclusive. Some states currently voluntarily participate in the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program, which allows administrators to run a simple check to determine if non-citizen applicants are eligible for benefits. States that do not use SAVE to verify alien status may simply accept the applicant’s attestation of legal status as a substitute for verification or, alternately, may accept submitted documents without checking their veracity. Does USDA support implementing SAVE in every state to ensure existing law is enforced?

Finally, as evidence of the nefarious and almost subliminal campaign to persuade otherwise hardworking immigrants to turn to the government for their living, Sessions cites the example of “a character in a USDA-produced Spanish-language “radio novela” [who] tries to convince a friend to enroll in food stamps even though that individual says, “I don’t need anyone’s help. My husband earns enough to take care of us.” The first individual responds: “When are you going to learn?”

“Pride,” Sessions adds, “ought to be celebrated, not mocked.”

When contacted for a comment, a spokesman for the Department of Agriculture said that the program is not intended to target illegal immigrants and that it is not a creation of the Obama administration.

Americans jealous of their liberty are not concerned with the party affiliation of any president, congressman, or bureaucrat who contributes to the decay of this nation’s foundation of freedom, self-reliance, and rule of law.

This partnership between the government of the United States and Mexico is strengthening the already very powerful magnet of welfare that is attracting people by the millions willing to risk life and limb to cross our southern border. Such a scheme is immoral, illegal, and unconstitutional.

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