EDITORIAL: A free lunch for the world

The Agriculture Department invites everyone to the table

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The Department of Agriculture is out to sign up the world for food stamps, and you don’t even have to live in the United States. The watchdogs at Judicial Watch discovered documents that reveal how the Obama administration’s close coordination with the Mexican government entices Mexicans to hop over the fence and on to the American dole.

The Agriculture Department takes a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to welfare and wants Mexicans to know that they can get generous assistance from U.S. taxpayers with no strings attached. “You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children,” a Spanish-language pamphlet created by Mexican officials with U.S. assistance tells Mexicans.

Early last year, Yibo Wood of the Agriculture Department's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) dispatched an email to the Mexican Embassy in Washington encouraging illegal aliens to apply for food stamps. “FNS understands that mixed-status households may be particularly vulnerable,” Ms. Wood explained. “Many of these households contain a non-citizen parent and a citizen child.” The obliging U.S. bureaucrats invited the staff of the embassy to an online seminar to learn how to spread the goodies among “the needy families that the consulates serve.”

Another Agriculture Department document emphasizes that it’s up to individual states to decide whether noncitizens can get food stamps. Mexican officials urged the Agriculture Department to prevent Kansas from adopting a policy blocking assistance to illegal aliens. “Receiving nutrition assistance through the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) on the [Women, Infants and Children] program does not make an immigrant a ‘public charge,’” the department declared.

The term “public charge” is important, because it is the one used in a federal law that bars immigrants from coming to the United States expressly to get on the dole. “What happened with the ‘96 welfare reform,” explains Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, “was to say that if want to you come to America, you come legally, you assert you’re not coming for welfare benefits, but you’re coming to work or otherwise be independent.”

Undoing the welfare-reform law has serious economic consequences. Milton Friedman once observed that Americans can choose to have either open borders or a generous welfare state, but not both. “If you have a state in which every resident is promised a certain minimal level of income, regardless of whether he works or not,” the Nobel Prize-winning economist explained, “free immigration would mean a reduction of everybody to the same uniform level.” That uniform level represents a substantial lowering of the American standard of living.

If the Obama administration succeeds in having it both ways by encouraging a flood of immigration through amnesty, along with the free lunch for everybody, the damage to the nation will be irreparable.

The Washington Times

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