Obama's new policy for illegal immigrants was recently announced and implemented without Congressional approval. Now questions are growing about the potential for widespread fraud — and with good reason, it seems. Less than two months after the government announced some 800,000 illegal immigrants would qualify for work authorization under the program, immigration policy analysts now say that more than twice that number, nearly 1.8 million, will qualify. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security appears to be accepting a surprisingly wide variety of evidence and supporting documents from applicants, hoping to prove that they qualify to stay in the U.S. and for temporary work authorization.
The program applies to illegals under the age of 31, who entered the U.S. prior to the age of 16, and have resided illegally in the U.S. since June 15, 2007. Applicants must also be currently enrolled in school, have a GED certificate, or have served in the U.S. military, and be law-abiding. Critics, including TSCL, question how the government will be able to verify when applicants actually entered the country and whether they were under the age of 16 when they did.
TSCL is concerned because even though illegals approved for the program don’t gain legal status, they do gain work-authorized Social Security numbers. This work-authorized number is all that the government requires to later allow non-citizens to file a claim for Social Security benefits. Under current law, the government uses all earnings to determine entitlement, as well as the amount of the initial retirement or disability benefit, even if jobs were worked illegally.
Those receiving work authorization become vested for benefits with as little as ten years of earnings. The oldest of those who are eligible for the deferred action could potentially have worked illegally long enough to be "vested," or nearly so, for Social Security already — including disability benefits. Once illegal workers gain a work-authorized Social Security number, individuals who have evidence of earnings, even for jobs worked under invalid Social Security numbers, may claim and reinstate those earnings under their own number. The earnings are then later used to determine Social Security benefits.
According to a recent TSCL poll, seventy-seven percent said they do not agree with the new "deferred action" immigration policy. TSCL supports the "No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act" (H.R. 787) introduced by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46), which would ban the use of earnings for jobs worked while illegal to determine entitlement.
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Sources: “Relief From Deportation: Demographic Profile Of The DREAMers Potentially Eligible Under The Deferred Action Policy,” Migration Policy Institute, August 2012.