Driven by public outrage over the flow of illegal immigrants across the borders, Congress is moving on controversial immigration legislation. Late last year, the House passed legislation that would require employers to verify the legal status of all employees by checking a national database. President Bush and many other Members of Congress want immigration legislation to also include provisions creating a "guest-worker" program, allowing millions of immigrants currently in this country illegally to gain temporary legal status, if they have a job.
Over 6,000 seniors have already signed our Petition to Congress Protesting Illegal Amnesty. If you haven't yet signed it, please do so now.
TSCL is concerned that President Bush may use the opportunity to send the U.S./Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement to Congress and put pressure on Congress to allow it to go into effect. The U.S. currently has 21 totalization agreements with other countries, but those nations have economies similar to ours. The agreements allow workers to total the amount of time worked in both countries in order to qualify for Social Security benefits. The agreement with Mexico would be the first with a developing nation with a large population where millions of workers are in the U.S. illegally.
Recently, TSCL petitioned Congress for "Redress of Grievances" concerning the agreement. TSCL believes that the agreement with Mexico endangers the Social Security Trust Fund and could trigger benefit cuts for beneficiaries. According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report dated September 30, 2003, the Social Security Administration's negotiations were based on "poor data" that understates the number of Mexican workers, both legal and illegal, who would qualify for Social Security benefits under the agreement, thereby underestimating the costs to the Social Security Trust Funds.
TSCL's brief supporting the petition focuses attention on the "unnecessary and unreasonable risks to Social Security." It provides information to elected leaders about current policies that allow immigrants to draw Social Security benefits based on work while illegal, and cites the high potential for waste and corruption due to inadequate controls. It also argues that the process by which the proposed agreement becomes effective violates the U.S. Constitution. The brief outlines legislative measures that should prevent the agreement from taking effect.
Sources: "President Bush Proposes New Temporary Worker Program," Remarks by the President on Immigration Policy, January 7, 2004. "Social Security: Proposed Totalization Agreement With Mexico Presents Unique Challenges," GAO-03-993, September 2003. "United States/Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement," Petitioner's Brief in Support of Petition for Redress of Grievances, Submitted to the 109th Congress by TREA Senior Citizens League, February 1, 2006.