Immigrants living in NYC send groceries bought with food stamps to relatives in Caribbean

Immigrants living in NYC send groceries bought with food stamps to relatives in Caribbean
Blue barrels like the ones shown are brazenly displayed at supermarkets frequented by EBT scammers.
Blue barrels like the ones shown are brazenly displayed at supermarkets frequented by EBT scammers.

Now if turned out that some of the immigrants using taxpayer money to buy groceries and ship them off to “the islands” were here illegally, we’d really have the liberal definition of utopia. The New York Post reports in an exclusive

Food stamps are paying for trans-Atlantic takeout — with New Yorkers using taxpayer-funded benefits to ship food to relatives in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Welfare recipients are buying groceries with their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards and packing them in giant barrels for the trip overseas, The Post found.

The practice is so common that hundreds of 45- to 55-gallon cardboard and plastic barrels line the walls of supermarkets in almost every Caribbean corner of the city.

The article notes that the feds disapprove of these “moveable feasts,” which run counter to the purpose of the $86 billion welfare program for impoverished Americans. In April the expenditure on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reached a record high. That month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 23 million households in the nation — or 1 in 5 — were on food stamps.

Reacting to the Post’s bombshell, a USDA spokeswoman said states should intervene if people are caught shipping nonperishables abroad. God forbid the Obama administration should be seen as reading the riot act to rGod forbid the Obama administration should be seen as reading the riot act to recipients of government entitlements guilty of biting the hand that feeds them.

Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, calls the practice just another example of welfare abuse:

I don’t want food-stamp police to see what people do with their rice and beans, but it’s wrong. The purpose of this program is to help Americans who don’t have enough to eat. This is not intended as a form of foreign aid.

The U.S. already spends plenty on foreign aid to the Caribbean. Last year, the federal government forked over $522.7 million in aid to those island nations mentioned earlier.

Still, cracking down on the practice will not be easy, judging from the Post’s interviews with abusers. One of them, a worker at a supermarket in Brooklyn, said, “Everybody does it.” Another admits to having hoarded more than $2,000 worth of goods to ship off to family back “home.”

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.

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