According to The Washington Post, a number of illegal immigrant families are pulling their children out of the SNAP program because they feel that enrolling in the program would expose their identities as illegal immigrants, leading to deportation.
Caitlin Dewey, writing for the Post, interviewed Luisa Fortin, a SNAP outreach coordinator in Georgia, who fretted, “I get calls from concerned parents all the time: ‘should I take my kids out of the program?’ They’re risking hunger out of fear … and my heart just breaks for them.”
But as Jazz Shaw writes at Hot Air, there are some problems with Fortin’s perceptions: First, it is against the law for illegal immigrants to collect SNAP benefits. He points out that even if it is the children ostensibly receiving the SNAP benefits, the whole family shares them. Second, Fortin also references families of legal immigrants including green card holders as part of her lament, which makes no sense because they are legally entitled to SNAP benefits and thus have no reason to fear immigration authorities.
Shaw writes, “These people are either getting some terribly bad information from government officials and outreach coordinators like Fortin or there is more to the story which we are not being told. If the desire to “escape scrutiny” stems from the fact that there are others in the household of, shall we say, more dubious legal status, then things begin to make a bit more sense.”
Dewey writes in the Post, “At food banks from Tucson to Baltimore, SNAP enrollment staff who work with immigrants have reported both a new reluctance to sign up for benefits and a paranoid interest in canceling them. Hunger Free America, a national anti-hunger nonprofit, has seen a marked uptick in the number of calls it receives from its partners, asking how to advise newly nervous clients … The Maryland Food Bank has seen its Spanish-language SNAP applications fall from 20 a month to zero.”
Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told Dewey, “I don’t think it’s proper to increase the burden on U.S. taxpayers for people whose only claim to them is that they broke our law. These children receive a large amount of benefits because their parents came here illegally.”