Alexandria, VA: Older Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to President Obama going it alone on immigration reform, according to a new poll released today by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). When asked, “Should President Obama bypass Congress to halt deportations of illegal immigrants?” — 89 percent of poll respondents said “no,” and only 11 percent agreed. Participants in TSCL polls and surveys are adults, age 65 and older, who receive Social Security and Medicare benefits.
“Social Security and Medicare recipients are frustrated and concerned about White House immigration Executive Action that would give work authorization and access to Social Security numbers,” says TSCL Chairman Ed Cates. “Clearly, older Americans believe their own elected lawmakers are the more appropriate choice to make immigration changes,” Cates adds.
Expanding work authorization to undocumented immigrants would open Social Security to potentially millions who have worked in this country illegally. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, a work-authorized Social Security number is all that individuals would need to later claim Social Security benefits — even years later. Citizenship would not be required. “Executive Action would potentially come with huge new long-term costs to both Social Security and Medicare,” Cates says.
TSCL surveys indicate that retirees are particularly outraged over current policies that allow Social Security to pay benefits determined by work under fraudulent and invalid Social Security numbers. In a survey conducted by TSCL earlier this year, seventy-eight percent favored legislation that would prohibit payment of Social Security benefits that are calculated on earnings from unauthorized work of illegal immigrants.
The immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in 2013 contained such a provision. “White House Executive action, however, would bypass Congress and may put undocumented immigrants on the path to Social Security and Medicare benefits,” Cates explains.
Giving potentially millions of undocumented immigrants new access to work-authorized Social Security numbers would increase future liabilities for both programs. Seniors are wary because in recent years both Obama and Congress have said that Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable now. Benefits under both programs have become a target of proposals to reduce government spending. “Older Americans view paying benefits to immigrants based on work under invalid and fake Social Security numbers as rewarding people for breaking our laws, at the expense of others who are working under Social Security the legal way,” notes Cates. What do you think? To learn more, visit TSCL’s website at www.SeniorsLeague.org.
With about 1 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Located just outside Washington, D.C., its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of TREA The Enlisted Association. Please visit www.SeniorsLeague.org or call 1-800-333-8725 for more information.
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