Fear of deportation drives people off food stamps in US

Yahoo News

NEW YORK (AP) — A crackdown on illegal immigration under President Donald Trump has driven some poor people to take a drastic step: opt out of federal food assistance because they are fearful of deportation, activists and immigrants say.

People who are not legal residents of the U.S. are not eligible to take part in what is formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  

But many poor families include a mix of non-legal residents and legal ones, such as children who have citizenship because they were born in the U.S. In those cases, it is often an adult who is not a legal resident who submits the application.

Some now feel that is too dangerous under a president who has made immigration enforcement a priority. Throughout the U.S., there are accounts of people resisting efforts of nonprofit organizations to sign them up for food stamps, letting benefits lapse or withdrawing from the program because of the perceived risk.

“They don’t want to put their name and address on a form for a government public benefit out of fear that they’ll be sought out and asked to leave,” said Teresa Smith, executive director of Catholic Charities of Orange County, California.

The food stamp program provides monthly payments, typically about $125 per eligible household member, to poor families to buy essential staples. Going without can be an extreme decision, advocates say.

“This means less food on the table, fewer meals in houses where the kids have rights because they are U.S. citizens,” said Andrew Hammond, an attorney for Chicago’s Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

It is not possible to determine the extent of the phenomenon. The number of food stamp recipients has declined as the U.S. recovers from the Great Recession and people could drop out for various reasons.

A 52-year-old woman interviewed in New York City, a Mexican in the country illegally, told The Associated Press she was motivated in January to drop a benefit that was supporting her teenage daughter, a U.S. citizen, purely because she was afraid of being in the food stamp system, which requires applicants to state their immigration status.

“I had been told that it’s OK to apply for food stamps. But, for the moment, I don’t want to take any risks,” said the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of her immigration status and was introduced to AP through an organization that helps immigrants, the Mexican Coalition of the South Bronx.

“I need it but I have peace of mind because my case is closed,” said the woman, who makes $8.50 an hour cleaning houses and lives in small apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

A Honduran immigrant and single mother with one child in Silver Spring, Maryland, decided not to renew the food stamps she received when they expired in January. “We fear deportation,” said the 29-year-old immigrant, who also spoke on condition of anonymity and was introduced to AP through a local nonprofit. She normally earns about $350 per week answering phones at a travel agency but has been working extra hours cleaning homes to make up for the loss of about $150 per month in food stamps.

Mark Krikorian, a well-known advocate for reducing immigration to the U.S., said their situation reflects the fact that many people who come to the country lack the skills to earn enough money here. “It is an attempted moral blackmail to say ‘If you Americans don’t give me your money, I can’t stay here and feed my children,'” he said. “Well, it’s your choice. No one made you sneak into the United States.”

About 3.9 million citizen children living with noncitizen parents received food stamps in the 2015 fiscal year, the most recent available data, according to the Department of Agriculture, which administers the food stamp program.

The Department of Agriculture says a lower percentage of noncitizens who qualify for the program known as SNAP have historically used the benefit than citizens because of an incorrect perception that it could affect their immigration status or hurt their chances of becoming a U.S. citizen.

“It is important for non-citizens to know they will not be deported, denied entry to the country, or denied permanent status because they apply for or receive SNAP benefits,” the agency says on its website.

Driving the most recent fears about the program is an increase in immigration enforcement.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested nearly 40 percent more people suspected of being in the country illegally in the first 100 days under Trump than in the same period a year earlier. The agency said nearly 75 percent of them had been convicted of criminal offenses but “non-criminal arrests” were up by more than 150 percent.

Immigrant advocates see the aversion to food stamps as a reflection of a climate of fear that drives people in the country illegally deeper underground, which in some cases also makes them reluctant to report crimes.

“We should care if people are afraid to interact with institutions that all of us rely on for our health and well-being,” said Tanya Broder, senior attorney at the National Immigration Law Center.


Associated Press writer Claudia Torrens reported from New York and AP writer Gisela Salomon reported from Miami. AP writer Amy Taxin in Orange County, California, contributed to this report.


3 thoughts on “Fear of deportation drives people off food stamps in US

  1. I am getting so tired of those who do NOT understand the Laws of our nation (excluding “color of law”).

    “such as children who have citizenship because they were born in the U.S. In those cases,”

    This is a LIE. Actually it is a MYTH.

    JFK, Yale University, June 11, 1962: “For the greatest enemy of the truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”

    Being born here does NOT make one a lawful US citizen, despite many Oath breaking governmental agencies and workers who say it is.

    Throughout the world for 100’s of years, still ongoing, is that a child takes on the citizenship of its father, no dad, then it is that of its mother. That is so here also. Unless citizenship for the child is asked for, tests passed, etc, that child is not a US citizen. IF the father/mother has a British citizenship, then the child does have the same citizenship as the parents, starting with the father also. Same for all other nations they may have come here from.

    R.S. § 2172, granting inherited citizenship to children born abroad of parents who “now are, or have been,” citizens, applies only to children whose parents were citizens on or before April 14, 1802, when its predecessor became effective.

    It is an established maxim world wide that every person owes a natural allegiance to the government of that country in which he is born. Allegiance is defined to be a tie, that binds the subject to the state, and in consequence of his obedience, he is entitled to protection of that nation.

    Many today believe erroneously that the children of aliens, born in this country, are considered as natural born subjects, and have the same rights with the rest of the citizens. But they need to understand that “subjects” are not “citizens”, We fought a war so that we could be transformed from “subjects of the British Crown” to Citizens of this Republic.

    Our Framers had no need to define “natural born Citizen” in the Constitution, because by the time of the Federal Convention of 1787, a formal definition of the term consistent with the new republican principles1 already existed in Emer Vattel’s classic, Law of Nations. We know, or should know, that our Framers carefully studied and relied upon Vattel’s work because writings of the time tell us that ‘Vattel’s work was “continually in the hands” of Congress in 1775; that the Members of the Continental Congress “pounced” on Vattel’s work; our Founders used the republican Principles in Vattel’s work to justify our Revolution against a monarchy; by 1780, Vattel’s work was taught in our universities; and our Framers used it at the Federal Convention of 1787’.

    Before our country was created we were subjects of the British Crown. With the War for Independence we had a new status, we became citizens, but the term needed to be defined so that all would understand it. Our framers used Vattel’s definitions to fit our new status as citizens of our new nation. Vattel provided these new republican concepts of “citizenship”. Vattel, “Law of Nations”, Book I, Ch. XIX, at §§ 212-217:

    § 212: Natural-born citizens are those born in the country of parents who are citizens – it is necessary that they be born of a father who is a citizen. If a person is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.

    § 213: Inhabitants, as distinguished from citizens, are foreigners who are permitted to stay in the country. They are subject to the laws of the country while they reside in it. But they do not participate in all the rights of citizens – they enjoy only the advantages which the law or custom gives them. Their children follow the condition of their fathers – they too are inhabitants.

    § 214: A country may grant to a foreigner the quality of citizen – this is naturalization. In some countries, the sovereign cannot grant to a foreigner all the rights of citizens, such as that of holding public office – this is a regulation of the fundamental law. And in England, merely being born in the country naturalizes the children of a foreigner.

    §§ 215, 216 & 217: Children born of citizens in a foreign country, at sea, or while overseas in the service of their country, are “citizens”. By the law of nature alone, children follow the condition of their fathers; the place of birth produces no change in this particular.

    The republican concept of “natural born citizenship” is radically different from the feudal notion of “natural born subjectship.” Under feudalism, merely being born in the domains of the King made one – by birth – a “natural born subject”. But in Vattel’s Model and what was accepted for Our Constitutional Republic, Citizens are “natural born” only if they are born of Citizens (plural) of this nation.

    Our Framers applied Vattel’s Concept of “natural born citizen” in Our Constitution:

    The Federal Convention was in session from May 14, through September 17, 1787. John Jay, who had been a member of the Continental Congress sent a letter (dated July 25, 1787), to George Washington, who presided over the Convention: “…Permit me to hint, whether it would not be wise & seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of foreigners into the administration of our national government and to declare expressly that the Command in Chief of the American army shall not be given to, nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen…”

    That is why Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 was drafted to read: “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

    § 214, where Vattel states that “fundamental law” may withhold from naturalized citizens some of the rights of citizens, such as holding public office. The Constitution is our “fundamental law”; and Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 withholds from naturalized citizens (except for our Founding Generation – those that were here when our nation was created – which was “grandfathered in”) the right to hold the office of President (as per Vattel’s Vattel, Article II, §1, cl. 5). Being those that created this nation, none of our first Presidents were “natural born Citizens”, even though they were all born here on this continent, because the USA didn’t exist. They were all born as subjects of the British Crown. They became naturalized citizens with the Declaration of Independence. That is why it was necessary to provide a grandfather clause for them for them to be natural citizens. But after our Founding Generation was gone, their successors were required to be born as citizens of the United States – not merely born here (as were our Founders), but born as citizens from two parents that each was a citizen

    Consider that the children born here of slaves – of any color, nationality – did not become “citizens” by virtue of being born here. Their parents were slaves. Slaves born here did not become citizens until 1868 and the ratification of the 14th Amendment. Also consider that American Indians were also NOT citizens of the USA, that happened way later with the creation of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, also known as the Snyder Act.

    What it all boils down to is that merely being born here does NOT confer status as a “natural born citizen” of the USA.

    David Ramsay’s 1789 Dissertation on Citizenship (David Ramsay – historian, Founding Father, and member of the Continental Congress): “The citizenship of no man could be previous to the declaration of independence, and, as a natural right, belongs to none but those who have been born of citizens since the 4th of July, 1776.”

    Article I, §8, cl. 4 delegates to Congress the power “To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization”. Pursuant to that power, the First Congress passed the Naturalization Act of 1790.

    Naturalization Act of 1790, 1 Stat. at Large, 103: “SECTION 1: Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any alien, being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof, on application to any common law court of record, in any one of the states wherein he shall have resided for the term of one year at least, and making proof to the satisfaction of such court, that he is a person of good character, and taking the oath or affirmation prescribed by law, to support the constitution of the United States, which oath or affirmation such court shall administer; and the clerk of such court shall record such application, and the proceedings thereon; and thereupon such person shall be considered as a citizen of the United States. And the children of such persons so naturalized, dwelling within the United States, being under the age of twenty-one years at the time of such naturalization, shall also be considered as citizens of the United States. And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens:

    Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States … APPROVED, March 26, 1790.”

    BTW, THAT is also why Obama was NEVER a US President, only a presidential impersonator. Why NOTHING that was done by his administration is LAWFUL and binding on the American people, and who those who participated in the “cover-up”, whatever branch, office, government, agency, military branch that they served within are TRAITORS to the USA. Why they all must be replaced, why only those who fought to have this cleared up before and after the impersonation are the ONLY ones that can be ALLOWED to remain in our government. The rest must be prosecuted for their crimes against our nation as they ALL – at every single level of government – are REQUIRED to take and KEEP an Oath to SUPPORT AND DEFEND the US Constitution; and they did the opposite. Those who serve AFTER the faked presidency and do NOT charge and prosecute all above mentioned are guilty of the same crimes. Also, since Biden knew BEFORE Obama was “elected” president that there were questions concerning his status is why HE could never be a LAWFUL US President. Nor any of that administration as would normally follow as their FIRST and most important duty was to SUPPORT AND DEFEND the US Constitution before the orders of any superiors (if any), and before the duties of the position being occupied.

    That is the requirement of Oath takers, and why so many today are Oath breakers, felons, Perjurers. They are REQUIRED in writing, signed document by them that they took it, Oath to SUPPORT AND DEFEND THE US CONSTITUTION and still do nothing but “just follow orders” and “just do their jobs” be they serving within a civil, military, LEA position. Why all must leave and be replaced – and many must be required to leave our nation and never return for any reason whatsoever for their crimes against her.

  2. Walmart loves food stamps, it’s a vicious cycle. That foodstamp money gets kicked back (a portion) to the mafia establishment. They hand out the EBT cards like friggen candy, wait until the user starts to use them, then wait like vultures for the kickback.

    Jp Morgan is behind all of this BS.

  3. “It is important for non-citizens to know they will not be deported, denied entry to the country, or denied permanent status because they apply for or receive SNAP benefits,” the agency says on its website.”

    Nice, subtle ‘upgrade’ there, scumbag.


    “We should care if people are afraid to interact with institutions that all of us rely on for our health and well-being,” said Tanya Broder, senior attorney at the National Immigration Law Center.”

    We care, all right… hoping the rest of the illegal trash follows suit.

    btw… “…institutions that all of us rely on for our health and well-being,”

    Considering you’re talking about so-called ‘GOVERNMENT’ institutions… THAT’S an oxymoron there.

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