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More Than a Quarter-Million Refugees Are on Food Stamps

74.2 percent of refugees received food stamps in 2013

Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center
Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center / AP
• April 23, 2015 11:20 am

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More than a quarter-million refugees are on food stamps, according to a memorandum to the Senate Judiciary Committee from the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

The CRS found that 353,000 refugees were on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, in fiscal year 2013.

According to the memo, 74. 2 percent of refugees arriving in the past 5 years are on food stamps and 22.8 percent received public housing, as of 2013.

Furthermore, 56 percent of refugees received Medicaid or public health insurance, and nearly half (47.1 percent) received cash benefits.

As of December 2014 there were 55,000 "refugees, asylees, and other related groups" who are receiving disability benefits through the Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Insurance Income (SSI) program.

The CRS was unable to determine the number of refugees receiving benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare program, or children health insurance.

Immigration officials are expecting another surge in unaccompanied illegal alien children crossing the Southwest border this summer. Approximately 3,000 children crossed the border in March, the Washington Times reported.

"Once granted refugee status, an individual has open access to federal welfare, work permits, and the ability to receive a green card and citizenship," Sen. Jeff Session’s (R., Ala.) office said.

Sessions is holding a hearing on Thursday on the administration’s Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations program run by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).