New State Senate Bill on Food Stamps Targets Immigrants

Published 03/12 2012 03:25PM

Updated 03/14 2012 10:09AM

(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) A new State Senate bill aimed at reforming Missouri's food stamp policy is targeting illegal immigrants.

State Senator Dr. Rob Schaaf is sponsoring Senate Bill 855, which seeks to change the way a household's income is calculated in regards to the allotment of food stamps.

"It's just an unjust situation.  How can you have it where American citizens could get fewer food stamps or not get them when a family of the same size with an illegal immigrant could.  That's outrageous," Dr. Schaaf said.

What Dr. Schaaf considers unfair is the federal policy that allows states like Missouri to count a prorated amount of an ineligible family member's income in what the household earns to determine in which food stamp bracket the household would be included.

"In making this prorated determination, it allows for illegal immigrants to get food stamps or maybe to get them when the same size family with American citizens might not get them at all," Dr. Schaaf said.

The new bill would not count the incomes of ineligible family members toward the household's income.

For example, in a family with two ineligible parents and two eligible children, the household would receive food stamps in the amount of a two-person household with zero income.

A household with no eligible members would receive no benefit, which Dr. Schaaf sees as more fair since it allows more American citizens to receive the benefit of food stamps.

"At the end of the day, it really does affect people," said Second Harvest Community Food Bank CEO David Davenport.

Davenport says the new bill doesn't accomplish its goal and is mired in complicated language.

"We want the food stamp program to work, we want it to work in a way that makes the American people and the people of Missouri feel good about that investment.  I can tell you, it's a great program that does amazing things.  We'll support things that make that program better," Davenport said.

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