A watchdog group released further documents detailing the USDA's partnership with Mexico in promoting food stamp usage among illegal aliens in the United States, particularly a Spanish language flyer provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sent to the Mexican Embassy saying they need not show documents while trying to enroll their children in the food stamp program.
"The promotion of the food stamp program, now known as 'SNAP' (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA with a statement advising Mexicans in the U.S. that they do not need to declare their immigration status in order to receive financial assistance. Emphasized in bold and underlined, the statement reads, 'You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children,'" writes Judicial Watch.
The documents were obtained by the watchdog group after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on July 20, 2012.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, says the collaboration between the USDA and the Mexican government to promote SNAP benefits for illegal immigrants should directly impact the immigration debate in America.
"The revelation that the USDA is actively working with the Mexican government to promote food stamps for illegal aliens should have a direct impact on the fate of the immigration bill now being debated in Congress," said Fitton. "These disclosures further confirm the fact that the Obama administration cannot be trusted to protect our borders or enforce our immigration laws. And the coordination with a foreign government to attack the policies of an American state is contemptible."
The program, which began in 2004, was signed by then Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman and Secretary of Foreign Affairs for Mexico Ernesto Luiz Derbez Bautista. The agreement was signed on July 22, 2004.
"We are here today to announce additional steps we are taking to strengthen that relationship. The agreement I am signing with Secretary Derbez will utilize the extensive network of Mexican consulates within the United States to educate eligible populations about available nutrition assistance," Veneman stated at the signing of the agreement.
"Additional barriers such as the language heightens the need for specialized outreach. The objectives under this agreement include new partnerships, communications outreach in both English and Spanish, and other activities to educate eligible populations," she added.
Some members in Congress have been drawing attention to the program for some time now.
In a letter dated October 9, 2012, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) demanded the U.S. Department of Agriculture stop promoting food stamp usage in poor and immigrant communities. Sessions cited USDA's promotional programs aimed at recruiting new food stamp recipients.
"I have serious concerns about this initiative. It defies rational thinking for the United States - now dangerously $16 trillion in debt - to partner with foreign governments to help us place more foreign nationals on American welfare, and it is contrary to good immigration policy for the United States. Yet the current Administration has conducted approximately 30 meetings and activities with the Mexican government in furtherance of this controversial alliance," Sessions stated in the letter.
The USDA says the 2002 Farm Bill restores SNAP eligibility to most legal immigrants that have lived in the country for five years. The website also states, "Certain non-citizens such as those admitted for humanitarian reasons and those admitted for permanent residence may also be eligible for the program. Eligible household members can get SNAP benefits even if there are other members of the household that are not eligible."