Senators from both sides of the aisle are once again proposing a broad immigration overhaul. Discussions so far have focused on the contentious issue of whether to grant "a pathway to citizenship" for the estimated 11 million immigrants now in the United States illegally. The timing, as Congress also considers major deficit reduction proposals that would cut senior benefits and increase taxes, raises questions as to whether illegal immigrants would benefit at the expense of people who paid into the system legally.
Immigration advocates say that increasing immigration would help cut the deficit by increasing revenues and payroll taxes needed to pay Social Security and Medicare benefits. Critics of immigration reform, including TSCL, are concerned that the costs of new claims for federal benefits that include Medicaid, new health insurance subsidies, Social Security and Medicare, along with billions in child tax credits, would far outweigh tax revenues.
Compounding the problem is current Social Security policy that can lead to entitlement to benefits based on the earnings of jobs worked while illegal. Once an illegal worker gains authorization, he or she also gains access to a valid Social Security number. That's all that the government currently requires to file a claim for Social Security benefits, even if he or she worked illegally for years.
If evidence of earnings, like W2s and tax returns, were kept prior to acquiring a valid Social Security number, individuals may have the earnings reinstated under his or her valid Social Security number, even if a phony or stolen Social Security number was used to get work. The earnings are then used to determine both entitlement and the amount of the initial retirement benefit.
TSCL believes that Social Security benefits should be based solely on earnings from jobs performed under valid, work-authorized numbers. TSCL lobbies to ban work credits based on earnings from work while illegal.
Click here to sign a petition. To learn more read our FAQ: "How 'Undocumented' Workers Are Becoming Entitled To Social Security" online.
Sources: “GOP Willing To Deal On Immigration,” David Harrison, CQ Roll Call, November 14, 2012. "Senators Propose Comprehensive Immigration Changes," Associated Press, November 13, 2012.