Undocumented immigrants are able to get between $1.4 and $2.1 billion from the federal food stamp program every year, despite not being eligible for it, according to a new Agricultural Department program analysis. The detailed report, released yesterday by the Center for Immigration Studies, points out that the rules guiding the distribution of food stamps favor homes with undocumented immigrants over those whose occupants have US citizenship.
CIS expert, David North, says that between 460,000 and 700,000 US households containing legal and undocumented immigrants are involved with SNAP (the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program). He notes that with the cost of food stamps averaging at around $255 per month per household, the annual payout to undocumented households comes to between $1.4 and $2.14 billion.
North calls this a “totally unnecessary” problem costing billions per year that regularly discriminates against American citizens in favor of undocumented immigrants. To receive food stamps, families composed of three members must not earn over $2177.
Households with undocumented immigrants can often earn a lot more and still be able to benefit from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program because the total household income is calculated to include only the income of legal citizens. This results in the income of an undocumented immigrant being completely ignored and allows the household eligibility to take part in the program. Another family, composed entirely of American citizens would be unable to, even though earning much less.