89% of Older Americans Oppose Executive Action on Immigration, Says New Poll from The Senior Citizens League

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Eighty-nine percent of people responding to a new poll by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) are opposed to President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

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TSCL Chairman Edward Cates

“With the Social Security Disability Insurance program facing insolvency by the end of 2016, and beneficiaries facing a 20 percent benefit cut, we are calling on Congress to end this policy that pays benefits based on document fraud,” Cates a

Eighty-nine percent of people responding to a new poll by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) are opposed to President Obama’s executive action on immigration. The poll was conducted prior to the president’s announcement of executive action that would allow an estimated 4.9 million unauthorized immigrants to avoid deportation. It asked, “Should President Obama bypass Congress to halt deportations of illegal immigrants?” Only 11 percent of those responding said “yes.”

The White House confirmed that many of those affected would be eligible for Social Security, Medicare and a wide array of federal benefits. “TSCL is concerned that the President’s executive action would not only provide authorization to legally work in this country, but access to Social Security and Medicare benefits that, under current policy, could be based in part on earnings under fraudulent Social Security numbers,” says TSCL Chairman, Ed Cates. “With the Social Security Disability Insurance program facing insolvency by the end of 2016, and beneficiaries facing a 20 percent benefit cut, we are calling on Congress to end this policy that pays benefits based on document fraud,” Cates adds.

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that undocumented immigrants who receive work authorization are eligible to receive Social Security and Medicare benefits on the basis of their work history. Under current law there’s no citizenship requirement to receive benefits, but individuals must be lawfully present in the U.S. That will mean higher spending on Social Security and Medicare in the future, the CBO said. While the CBO said new payroll taxes would boost Social Security and Medicare’s financial condition in the short term, in the long term federal spending would increase significantly as those people became eligible for benefits.

“TSCL’s concern is not over taxes collected under valid Social Security numbers,” Cates says. “Our concern is over the use of earnings under invalid or fraudulent Social Security numbers to determine benefits,” he explains. Earnings reported under invalid numbers most often occur when noncitizens work without legal authorization. But due to a loophole in current law, Social Security uses all earnings to determine benefits, even those from jobs worked under invalid and fraudulent Social Security numbers. Social Security thus pays benefits for the rest of the individual’s life that may be based at least in part, on work under invalid Social Security numbers. TSCL believes this policy rewards people for document fraud.

The Senior Citizens League has prepared a new fact sheet to help the public better understand how immigration changes by executive action may affect Social Security and Medicare. Get it here http://seniorsleague.org/2015/f-q-executive-action-immigration-social-security-medicare/ . To learn more, visit http://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 http://www.SeniorsLeague.org or call 1-800-333-8725 for more information.

If you would like to continue receiving these press releases via email, please send your email address to sbenton(at)tsclhq(dot)org.

“How Changes in Immigration Policy Might Affect the Federal Budget,” Congressional Budget Office, January 2015, http://www.cbo.gov/publication/49868.

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Shannon Benton
The Senior Citizens League
since: 09/2014
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