Judicial Watch • U.S. Gives 1/3 of Puerto Rico Food Stamps

U.S. Gives 1/3 of Puerto Rico Food Stamps

U.S. Gives 1/3 of Puerto Rico Food Stamps

MAY 13, 2013

As if it weren’t bad enough that a record 47.7 million people—and growing—get food stamps from the U.S. government, federal records reveal that a whopping 1/3 of Puerto Rico’s population receives them.

This cost American taxpayers an astounding $2 billion last year, according to figures released by the government agency—the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—that distributes the benefit. The information was originally obtained by a conservative news website that reports up to 25% of the $2 billion is untraceable because it’s distributed in cash and there’s no way to verify that the funds are actually spent on food.

The USDA does confirm, however, that an average of 1.37 million people received food stamps in Puerto Rico each month in fiscal year 2012. The island, which is a U.S. territory, has a population of 3.7 million, which means that 37% of Puerto Ricans get food stamps from Uncle Sam. Though the figure of 47.7 million in the U.S. shatters records, it still marks only 15.2% of the nation’s population of 313 million.

Nevertheless, the food stamp rolls continue to rise under President Obama who is committed to eradicating what he believes is a national epidemic of “food insecure” households. In 2012 the government spent an unprecedented $80.4 billion on the program, marking an unbelievable $2.7 billion increase from the previous year. The figure doesn’t even include other taxpayer-funded food programs for low-income populations like “Child Nutrition Programs” that received an additional $18.3 billion last year.

As is typical with these types of bloated government programs, fraud and corruption has tainted the USDA’s grocery giveaway. Just a few weeks ago Judicial Watch obtained documents from the USDA detailing how the agency is working with the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal aliens in the U.S. food stamp program. The effort includes a Spanish-language flyer provided to the Mexican Embassy by the USDA ensuring that Mexicans in the U.S. don’t need to declare their immigration status to get financial assistance from Uncle Sam.

It turns out that illegal aliens have received food stamps by the vanload for decades, according to a former certification case worker who contacted J W after reading the documents. The retired assistant case manager, Craig McNees, was in charge of vetting food-stamp applicants in north Florida and Indiana in the ’80s and says the program was infested with fraud and corruption that was perpetually ignored by management. “Illegals would come in by the vanload and we were told to give them their stuff,” McNees said. “Management knew very well they were illegal. It was so rampant that some employees would tell their illegal relatives to come get food stamps.”

Previous to that JW has reported extensively on the fraud that has plagued the food-stamp program even as the Obama administration continues to promote it. For instance last spring the USDA Inspector General revealed that many food-stamp recipients use their welfare benefit to buy drugs, weapons and other contraband from unscrupulous vendors. Some trade food stamps for reduced amounts of cash. The fraud cost taxpayers nearly $200 million, according to the USDA watchdog, which provided various examples during testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

A separate federal audit revealed last year that many who don’t even qualify for food stamps receive them under a special “broad-based” eligibility program that disregards income and asset requirements. This is sticking American taxpayers with a multi-million-dollar tab to feed hundreds of thousands of people who can well afford to feed themselves.

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