The federally funded food stamp program has policies in place that benefit families with one or more illegal immigrant wage earners over American citizens. Only six states have policies in place that prevent this.
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) published a report on this loophole Monday. Illegal immigrants themselves are not eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but their children are.
“Let’s say that the all-citizen family consisted of three people, employed father, stay-at-home mother, and a small child. Dad makes $2,400 a month. The family’s income is too high for food stamps since the maximum monthly income is $2,177 for a family of three,” David North, a fellow at CIS and author of the report, wrote.
“Then next door there is a mixed family, also three people, with the father being the only worker, also earning $2,400 a month. The difference is that the father is an ineligible alien and so, under many states’ regulations, one-third of the family’s income is ignored (prorated is the word in SNAP circles), leaving the family with a nominal income of $1,600 a month that allows the family to get a food stamps allotment, but only for the two citizens, not for all three in the family.”
SNAP money is used for food in families that is presumably shared so the illegal immigrant gets the benefits.
A simple formula for SNAP proration is income multiplied by household size minus ineligible alien(s)/actual household size. This ends up meaning mixed-households, those with ineligible aliens, as having smaller listed incomes and thus being eligible for food stamps.
While SNAP is federally funded it is administered at a state-level and sometimes even at a county-level. “Of the states and territories, 47 have opted for proration and six have not. According to the most recent of SNAPs State Options Reports the six dissenters are Arizona, Guam, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Utah,” the CIS report states.
The SNAP’s State Options Report leaves out Kansas of the “dissenters.” However, Kansas has enacted changes to its SNAP program to solve this proration problem. The 2015 HOPE Act in Kansas “requires the counting of income of non-citizens when determining SNAP benefits.”
North told The Daily Caller, “you have proved how confused this situation can be. Kansas is doing the right thing, and USDA does not know it.”
Ineligible aliens for SNAP are not just illegal immigrants but also those who have had a green card for less than five years. The CIS estimated that over $1.4 billion annually in federal taxpayer benefits are paid out to mixed-households.
Some groups — like the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights — openly promote how proration unequally benefits illegal aliens. It lists the SNAP monthly household income limit for a family of 3 as $1,984. “But for mixed status families, these same income limits do not apply,” the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee writes.
It has previously been reported that the U.S government has worked with the Mexican government to promote SNAP eligibility to illegal aliens.