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Memo: 353,000 Refugees on Food Stamps, 55,000 Receiving Supplemental Security Income

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More than 350,000 refugees in the United States are on food stamps, according the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

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In a memo to the Senate Judiciary Committee released Thursday but dated April 14, CRS offers data on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — or food stamps — and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) use among refugees. It also provided refugee benefit usage statistics for medical assistance, cash assistance and public housing.

In Fiscal Year 2013, there were about 353,000 refugees on SNAP. As of December 2014, 55,000 refugees, asylees, and other similar populations receiving payments from SSI, the memo reveals.

CRS provided a table looking at welfare use among all refugees who had arrived within the past five years. In 2013, 56 percent were receiving Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance, 47.1 percent were on “any type of cash assistance,” 74.2 percent were on food stamps, and 22.8 percent were in public housing.

Additionally, just 10.7 percent were receiving medical coverage through an employer and 20.2 percent had had no medical coverage in the past year.

The report was released in advance of an immigration subcommittee hearing on a new Obama administration program to fly Central American youths to the U.S. as refugees and asylees.

“It was recently revealed that the Obama Administration, via unauthorized executive action, is now providing free transportation to individuals in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who are related to foreign nationals inside the United States, including those here illegally,” the heading description reads.

“Once granted refugee status, an individual has open access to federal welfare, work permits, and the ability to receive a green card and citizenship,” it adds. “The Administration has also stated that it plans to ‘parole’ such individuals into the United States as well, further contravening law.”


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