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Moore to Ag secretary: Do illegal immigrants receive SNAP benefits?

Concerned that illegal immigrants may receive federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, U.S. Rep. Barry Moore questioned Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack during a hearing Tuesday.

Moore (R-Troy) said it was possible millions of illegal immigrants are receiving or will receive taxpayer-funded SNAP benefits. Moore asked Vilsack if he was concerned that the burden could prove to much for taxpayers.

“If there are 41 million people currently receiving taxpayer-funded SNAP benefits,” Moore said during the House Agriculture Committee hearing. “And the 5 million illegal immigrants who turn themselves in become eligible to receive these benefits, are you concerned at some point that we will have more people receiving benefits than the American taxpayer can afford?”

Vilsack said that he was not.

“No. Look, first of all, let’s take a look at who is actually getting SNAP,” he said. “Somewhere between 80 and 85 percent of the people receiving SNAP are in one of three categories: a person with a disability, a senior citizen on a fixed income, a Social Security check, or working moms and dads.”

Moore sought clarification.

“So, we’re not tracking it, so we really don’t know if the 5 million people that applied for asylum actually are eligible to receive benefits,” the congressman said.

“With due respect, congressman, I think it’s absurd to suggest that there are five million people who have applied for benefits,” Vilsack said.

“Oh, I’m not suggesting, I am asking if you can give me a number,” Moore said. “I was just curious — if you don’t know a number, how can it be absurd to ask the question?”

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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