By Caroline May
Department of Agriculture personnel in the Obama administration have met with Mexican Government officials dozens of times since the president took office to promote nutrition assistance programs — notably food stamps — among Mexican Americans, Mexican nationals and migrant communities in America.
Writing in response to Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions’ July request for information about the USDA’s little known partnership with the Mexican government to educate citizen and noncitizen immigrants from Mexico about the availability of food stamps and other nutrition assistance programs, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack defended the partnership as a way to curb hunger in America — and the continuation of a program formed under the Bush administration in 2004.
“The Mexico-U.S. Partnership for Nutrition Assistance Initiative is just one of a wide range of USDA partnership activities intended to promote awareness of nutrition assistance among those who need benefits and meet all program requirements under current law.” Vilsack wrote to Sessions in a letter obtained by The Daily Caller. (RELATED: USDA uses Spanish soap operas to push food stamps among non-citizens, citizens)
Since the partnership began, Vilsack wrote, USDA personnel have met at least 151 times with officials from the Mexican government “to discuss nutrition assistance programs as well as to provide program updates.” Those instances included 91 meetings with embassy and consulate staff in 25 U.S. cities; 29 health fairs in 19 U.S. cities; and 31 roundtable discussions, conferences and forums in 20 U.S. cities.
Roughly 30 of these meetings and activities occurred under the Obama administration, Vilsack’s letter revealed.
The agriculture secretary added that the list might not be exhaustive as some of the meetings may not have been recorded.