April 26, 2013
Documents Reveal that Mexican Government Encourages Maximum Participation in U.S.-Funded Program
- Judicial Watch today released documents
detailing how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working with
the Mexican government to promote participation by illegal aliens in
the U.S. 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
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
The documents came in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
request made to USDA on July 20, 2012. The FOIA request sought: "Any
and all records of communication relating to the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP) to Mexican Americans, Mexican nationals, and
migrant communities, including but not limited to, communications with
the Mexican government."
The documents obtained by Judicial Watch show that USDA officials are
working closely with their counterparts at the Mexican Embassy to
widely broaden the SNAP program in the Mexican immigrant community, with
no effort to restrict aid to, identify, or apprehend illegal
immigrants who may be on the food stamp rolls. In an email to Borjon Lopez-Coterilla and Jose Vincente of the Mexican Embassy
dated January 26, 2012, Yibo Wood of the USDA Food and Nutrition
Service (FNS) sympathized with the plight of illegal aliens applying for
food stamps, saying, "FNS understands that mixed status households may
be particularly vulnerable. Many of these households contain a
non-citizen parent and a citizen child."
The email from Wood to Lopez-Coterilla and Vincente came in response
to a request from the Mexican Embassy that the USDA FNS step in to
prevent the state of Kansas from changing its food stamp policy to
restrict the amount of financial assistance provided to illegal aliens.
In a January 22, 2012, article, the Kansas City Star
had revealed that the state would no longer include illegal aliens in
its calculations of the amount of assistance to be provided low-income
Hispanic families in order to prevent discrimination against legal
The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch in August 2012, include the following:
- March 30, 2012 - The USDA seeks approval of the Mexican Embassy in
drafting a letter addressed to consulates throughout the United States
designed to encourage Mexican embassy staffers to enroll in a webinar
learn how to promote increased enrollment among "the needy families that
the consulates serve."
- August 1, 2011 - The USDA FNS initiates contact with the Mexican
Embassy in New York to implement programs already underway in DC and
Philadelphia for maximizing participation among Mexican citizens. The
Mexican Embassy responds that the Consul General is eager to strengthen
his ties to the USDA, with specific interest in promoting the food
- February 25, 2011 - The USDA and the Mexican Consulate exchange
ideas about getting the First Ladies of Mexico and United States to
visit a school for purposes of creating a photo opportunity that would
promote free school lunches for low-income students in a predominantly
Hispanic school. Though a notation in the margin of the email claims
that the photo op never took place, UPI reported that it actually did.
- March 3, 2010 - A flyer advertises a webinar to teach
Hispanic-focused nonprofits how to get reimbursed by the USDA for
serving free lunch over the summer. The course, funded by American
taxpayers, is advertised as being "free for all participants."
- February 9 , 2010 - USDA informs the Mexican Embassy that, based on
an agreement reached between the State Department and the Immigration
& Naturalization Service (now ICE), the Women, Infants &
Children (WIC) food voucher program does not violate immigration laws
prohibiting immigrants from becoming a "public charge."
As far back as 2006, in its Corruption Chronicles
blog, Judicial Watch revealed that the USDA was spending taxpayer money
to run Spanish-language television ads encouraging illegal immigrants
to apply for government-financed food stamps. The Mexican Consul in
Santa Ana, CA, at the time even starred in some of the U.S.
Government-financed television commercials, which explained the program
and provided a phone number to apply. In the widely viewed commercial
the Consul assured that receiving food stamps "won't affect your
In 2012, Judicial Watch reported that in a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions
questioned the Obama administration's partnership with Mexican
consulates to encourage foreign nationals, migrant workers and
non-citizen immigrants to apply for food stamps and other USDA
administered welfare benefits. Sessions wrote, "It defies rational
thinking," Sessions wrote, "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 in the United States."
"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 Judicial Watch President Tom 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."
Judicial Watch Press Release - click to go to Judical Watch site