The Trump Effect: Illegals are opting out of welfare programs

by Dr. Eowyn

The WIC or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, created in 1974, is a federal welfare program for supposedly low-income pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children under the age of five — regardless of whether they are U.S. citizens or in the U.S. illegally.

The basic eligibility requirement is a family income below 185% of the federal poverty level, which in 2018 is an annual income $25,100 for a family of four (the figure is higher for  Alaska and Hawaii). Most states allow automatic WIC eligibility for persons or families who are already receiving other welfare programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Amanda Prestigiacomo reports for The Daily Wire, Sept. 3, 2018, that a proposed Trump Administration rule to deny legal status to illegals on welfare is prompting hundreds of thousands of illegal “immigrants” to opt out of WIC.

Both illegal and legal immigrants have been inundating health care providers with calls demanding they be dropped from federal assistance programs like WIC. Illegals are asking to be dropped from WIC because they are scared of being deported, while some legal immigrants apparently believe their legal status will be in jeopardy because of rumors circulating about potential Trump Administration rules.

Agencies in at least 18 states say they’ve seen drops of up to 20% in enrollment. When President Donald Trump first took office, there were 7.4 million women and children enrolled in WIC. That number declined to roughly 6.8 million in May 2018, which is a decrease of 8.1% or 600,000 fewer enrollees. The drop-off may also be due to a bolstered economy and a decline in immigrant birth rates.

In 2011, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) said WIC cost $100 per person.

600,000 fewer WIC recipients would mean a savings of $60 million, in 2011 dollars.

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