Claim: A bill currently before Congress (HR 219) would prevent Mexicans who worked in the USA illegally from claiming Social Security benefits.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2003]
As Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) puts it, “dark clouds are gathering over our already dangerously fragile Social Security system.”
In December, the press reported on a looming deal between the United States and the government of Mexico which would make hundreds of thousands of Mexican citizens eligible for U.S. Social Security benefits. The centerpiece of the agreement would be a
Worse still, thousands of foreigners who would qualify for U.S. Social Security benefits actually came to the United States and worked here illegally. Under “totalization,” a foreigner who came to the United States illegally could work fewer than the required number of years, return to Mexico for the rest of his working years, and collect full U.S. Social Security benefits while living in Mexico. That is an insult to the millions of Americans who pay their entire working lives into the system and now face the possibility that there may be nothing left when it is their turn to retire.
“The proposed agreement is nothing more than a financial reward to those who have willingly and knowingly violated our own immigration laws,” says
Estimates of what this deal with the Mexican government would cost top one billion dollars per year. As the system braces for a steep increase in those who will be drawing from the Social Security trust fund, it
Supporters of the Social Security to Mexico deal may attempt to downplay the effect the agreement would have on the system, but actions speak louder than words: According to several press reports, the State
Social Security should be limited to United States citizens and nationals who have paid into the system. It should not be a global giveaway. In the
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Origins: While it is true the Bush administration is working on an accord that would allow some Mexican citizens to claim benefits from the
The totalization plan now under discussion between the Bush administration and the Mexican government (both parties still describe the discussions as “informal and preliminary”) would allow Mexican citizens who paid into the U.S. Social Security fund while legally employed in the USA to collect the benefits they accrued even if they return to their homeland. Mexicans who labored in the U.S. legally and who paid into the
Totalization is nothing new, nor does it apply only to workers from Mexico. The United States has been negotiating such agreements with other governments since the late 1970s and currently has them in place with twenty other countries. These agreements allow workers to “totalize” the number of years they have toiled in both countries to meet the minimum number of years required to qualify for benefits in one of the systems.
Many immigrants (from Mexico and elsewhere) enter the USA illegally and manage to secure jobs with the aid of forged or borrowed documents. Some of these immigrants go on to become legal residents, and it is these formerly illegal workers who are the subject of
(It’s easy to misread the comments from
A totalization agreement with Mexico would cover Mexican citizens who worked in the USA legally and afterwards moved back to their homeland. The details of the accord — how much of a benefit they would be entitled to, how long they’d have had to have worked in either country, whether the scale of payments made to beneficiaries would conform to U.S. or Mexican retirement plans — haven’t been released yet. However, it’s reasonable to assume those charged with managing the Social Security totalization accord would engineer the agreement in such a way as to head off easily foreseeable abuse, cutting off at the knees the blood-boiling notion of former illegals working in the USA for all of two weeks then forever afterwards sucking the American public’s tit.
At its heart, the question of a Social Security totalization agreement with Mexico is one of raw economics. About 94,000 beneficiaries living abroad are serviced under the twenty agreements that now exist with other countries. A Mexican agreement could bring another 162,000 into the fold in just the first five years, and one independent estimate put the total potential expenditure at
The attempt to tie
Barbara “sticky wicket” Mikkelson
| Status of existing totalization agreements (Social Security Administration)|
| H.R. 219 (Social Security Preservation Act of 2003)|
Last updated: 4 December 2007
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