Local lawmakers are fuming over an Obama administration policy promoting welfare and EBT benefits for immigrants, with a “welcome” package and promotional website that encourage new arrivals to take advantage of the nation’s generous government largesse.

“I think it’s a complete outrage that we’re encouraging people coming here to get on public assistance,” said state Rep. Shaunna O’Connell, a Taunton Republican who has fought for EBT reform. “We should be encouraging people to be self-sufficient. These programs are rampant with fraud and abuse.”

The fight over welfare for recent immigrants is unfolding in Washington, where a group of GOP senators has sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack demanding answers as to why food stamps and other welfare benefits are being promoted to new immigrants. The agency’s Welcome toUSA.gov website includes a comprehensive handbook directing immigrants on how to obtain food stamps, Medicare, disability and other taxpayer-funded aid.

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