Memo From Middle America | Obama Pushing Food Stamp Program to Hispanic Immigrants

Barack Obama is not just Electing A New People—he’s also feeding them at U.S. taxpayer expense. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration set the precedent.

Newt Gingrich was accused of “racism” (naturally) for calling Obama the “food stamp president.” But the program has indeed reached its highest point under Obama: A record 44.7 million U.S. residents received food stamps in fiscal 2011, according to the US Department of Agriculture—about a seventh of the population. Cost: $75.3 billion dollars. (By June of 2012, that figure was already at about $46.4 million). (See 2012 Food Stamp (SNAP) Income Eligibility Levels, Deductions and Benefit Allotment Payments).

The food stamp program is now called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Food is purchased with a debit card (an EBT—Electronic Benefit Transfer). But the old name has stuck. If any VDARE.com readers want “food stamps,” go to this USDA web page.

CNN reported earlier this summer that Obama’s USDA, at the cost of a few million dollars, has been

….running radio ads for the past four months encouraging those eligible to enroll. The campaign is targeted at the elderly, working poor, the unemployed and Hispanics.

Government Wants More People on Food Stamps. by Tami Luhby, June 25, 2012). Emphasis added.

Hmm, it’s totally coincidental that these ads are being run in an election year, right?

But you can’t blame all of this on Obama. CNN noted:

“President Bush launched a recruitment campaign, which pushed average participation up by 63% during his eight years in office. The USDA began airing paid radio spots in 2004.”

Of course, the majority of food stamp recipients are not Hispanics. But the Obama Administration is determined to get more Hispanics on the program. The USDA even has a page on its website entitled Reaching Low-Income Hispanics With Nutrition Assistance. It begins:

“Hispanic families add to the vibrant diversity of US society and contribute significantly to our cultural melting pot. In 2008, 15 percent of the U.S. population was Hispanic and 24 percent of U.S. population was under age 18. Latino families are much more likely to live in poverty and experience food insecurity than white non-Hispanic households.”

They are? So why are we importing more of them?

Oh yes, that “vibrant diversity.”

The USDA site goes on to detail the wonderful ways it is reaching out to low-income Hispanics. That includes SNAP, but also such programs as WIC (the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) “Child Nutrition Programs” which feed kids at schools, even during the summer.

But the SNAP-crats at the USDA want still more Hispanics on the dole:

Although many low-income Latinos participate in USDA’s nutrition assistance programs, a large number do not. …The bottom line is that while about 15 percent of households in the United States were food insecure at some time during 2008, the rate of food insecurity among Hispanic families was over 25 percent. USDA is making a concerted effort to address barriers to program participation among eligible Hispanics, including immigrants.

(My emphasis. Note: no mention here of legal status. The USDA site does say elsewhere that you have to be legal to get foodstamps—but in the era of Obama's Administrative Amnesty, how strict is enforcement likely to be?).

So the USDA is running radio ads in both English and Spanish, toll free numbers for inquiries, free posters and brochures in English and Spanish (see here) and a Spanish-language web page where food stamp prospects can take a pre-test to see if they’re eligible,

The USDA has also formed coalitions with various organizations to reach low-income Hispanics. And there is grant money available:

  • “Outreach Grants for small neighborhood and faith-based organizations to study the effectiveness of strategies to inform eligible low-income people about the program. “
  • “Participation Grants for projects that look at ways that State partnerships can improve access, and make the application and intake process more user-friendly.”

But that’s still not enough—the USDA is also “expanding the number and types of products available in Spanish and other languages.”

In case you were worried about cultural relevance, the USDA is being culturally relevant by “Promoting Healthy Food Choices in Ways that Are Understandable and Culturally Relevant”. Furthermore,

“...appealing materials are being developed at an appropriate reading level in Spanish, along with examples that reflect the food preferences and consumption patterns of the low-income Hispanic population.”

The USDA provides nutrition information in Spanish, including MiPirámide (about the food pyramid) and materials about nutrition and exercise—“Eat Smart. Play Hard. ™

The SNAP Nutrition Connection provides a recipe finder in English and Spanish and “nutrition education materials targeted for low literacy Hispanics [sic] mothers.”

Oh, and besides all that, there’s another “Hispanic outreach plan, now under development, to better reach and educate the Hispanic audience about the nutrition benefits of the SNAP.”

I can’t wait!

This amazing document ends with a two-sentence paragraph, apparently with no intended irony:

“These initiatives should ensure that Hispanic households and other immigrant groups take advantage of the help available when they need some help to become self-sufficient. After all, the United States values its diversity and will not leave its newest residents to fall behind.”

As VDARE.com’s Brenda Walker recently pointed out, one of the Agriculture Department’s allies in boosting Hispanic food stamp dependence: none other than the government of Mexico! Mexico is utilizing its vast (and notorious) network of 50 consulates on U.S. soil.

But guess what—this didn’t start with Obama either! It’s another legacy of the disastrous Bush Administration. It was back in 2004 when the USDA and Mexican foreign minister Luis Ernesto Derbez signed the agreement.

So is anybody protesting this?

Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions is. You can read his objections here and here.

Sessions even dares raises the taboo idea that we should select immigrants who might benefit the US:

An immigration policy should seek to bring people to the United States who will be able to function independently without government subsidies. We’ve got millions of people that want to come here, millions of people who would be able to perform without a subsidy, so we need to be selecting those people.[USDA partnering with Mexico to boost food stamp participation, Daily Caller, July 19, 2012]

That’s good. Our immigration system ought to be much more selective.

But how about an even more basic question? With 14 million unemployed Americans, and scores of millions on the dole, why do we need more immigrants anyway?

And if Mitt Romney is serious about getting America back to work, why isn’t he calling for an immigration moratorium?

American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A in 2008, after many years residing in Mexico. Allan's wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.