NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — City leaders are calling on the Bloomberg administration to stop finger printing New Yorkers who are seeking food stamps, calling the practice unnecessary and punitive.

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Most other jurisdictions in the country have done away with finger printing to receive food stamps, but not New York City and advocates for the poor say it’s just plain wrong.

“It raises very serious civil rights problems,” said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. “This is sort of an electronic stop and frisk and it doesn’t solve a problem, it creates a problem.”

The City Council estimates 30,000 New Yorkers are going without food because of the finger printing requirement.

“This is federal money we’re leaving on the table in Washington,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “How much? At least $54.4 million of federal money.”

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“Spending perhaps millions of dollars of city funds to keep away tens of millions of dollars at a minimum of federal funds to feed hungry New Yorkers, a business person would come to the automatic conclusion this just doesn’t make sense,” said Berg.

The State of Arizona and New York City are the only places in the country that require finger printing for food stamps. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says it helps prevent fraud.

For more information about food stamps and food programs, click here.

What do you think of the finger printing policy? Sound off below in our comments section…

Comments (15)
  1. Alisa Costa says:

    I am astounded by the level of hate speech allowed on thsi site.

  2. Kitwench says:

    You have to be fingerprinted to get a Driver’s License in most states. You have to be drug tested to work for most major companies and ALL Government jobs (well, except for politicians) …
    But somehow asking the same of people asking for help is punitive ???

    1. Rebecca Smith says:

      Well I never had to be fingerprinted to get a driver’s license. My question is, what is the primary reason for the fingerprint request? To find wanted people? How really does it stop fraud? If I get my fingerprint taken, am a legal citizen with no police record, even if I am pretending to be someone else, my fingerprint won’t prove it. Illegals can collect benefits REGARDLESS of their legal status, so that can’t be it.

  3. setanta says:

    too many remain ignorant that illegals collect all benefits if they have their anchors,and being they don’t have to prove one thing,they can go all over the 5 boros and apply/collect with their imaginary families or the real 1s–all these loiyuuhs and advocates for illegals and frauds should be forced to totally support them and leave everyone else outta this equation…and how did they come up with this 30thousand figure ? the same way they conjured up the scatology that one out of 6 have NO health insurance,right ? but 1 out of 7 are on welfare etc.

  4. Carlos Liriano says:

    there is a reason those 30.000 folks don’t want to be fingerprinted, if they do our jails will be fill to capacity by those criminals, they all have warrants for they arrest, the city should also go after the jews, they all milking the system,(the hassidics)

  5. Amused but not misled says:

    The system is riddled with fraud. You can collect under a half dozen names. Sell the FS swipes to crooked bodegas for a cash split with the bodega for food never bought or sold. Happens every day now. $1,000,000 every week.

    The Food Stamp system is so so full of fraud and it’s being robbed blind. They finger printed Public Assistance recips and fraud rate dropped 90% there.

    And NY is WAY out of line how much is spent for a State even this size.

  6. Saltine says:

    I bet I know who is paying Joel Berg to feel that way, too. About 100,000 Hassidic voting blocks with more $$ than you and I would ever see in a lifetime.

    These creeps and their 12 kids each are all on the programs. Welfare, Medicaid, Section 8 and Food Stamps. They send their inbred spawn to Israel (the males ones) and always conveniently forget to tell the case workers. The men all make the EXACT amount at their jobs, pay the EXACT same amount of rent and get all their birth certificates from the SAME rabbi!!!! They all make $333.33 a month which gives them all the highest amount of food benefits.

    And the can’t even be bothered to go to apply/re-apply for these benefits. They somehow find the $$$ to pay “reps” who handle thousands of cases at once. They offer gold and $$ to workers in order to keep these criminals on the Social Welfare System. I know this because family works right in the heart of this garbage pit.

    We have even witnessed Russians at these soup kitchen taking whole turkeys for the holidays and then coming back to get 2 more and 3 more and then selling them at their stores. We have seen them using Food Benefit cards to buy lobster and cheesecake at the local Stop n Shop–and then selling these items by the slice at their restaurant/cafes on the Coney Island boardwalk!!!!


    1. Sonny P. says:


  7. jagdish says:

    30,000 without food? That’s 30,000 criminals and illegals avoiding capture.

  8. pete says:

    I’m paying for their food. I want them fingerprinted if they are having me pay for their food. They don’t want to get fingerprinted? Then they can pay for their own food.

    1. Saltine says:


  9. John says:

    The reason why few states do it because it doesn’t make business sense. When Rudy started this program, everyone swore there was huge amounts of fraud, they were wrong. They spent millions of dollars and found fraud in very very little amounts. The fraud is low because everything is computerized nowadays and fraud is very difficult.

    1. Kazoo says:

      Then why are 30,000 staying away from the program. Are they wanted for crimes they committed? Are the illegal?

  10. rocky says:

    Give them drug testing also

  11. Queens rider says:

    I see nothing wrong with the practice. If you have nothing to hide, then it won’t bother you. I don’t want my tax dollars feeding people that are here illegally. Let them go home or get legal. Quite simple really.

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