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U.S. SIGNS SOCIAL SECURITY AGREEMENT WITH MEXICO

Submitted by Charleston Voice
August 2004

Remember now, this is all happening under a "conservative" Republican congress!

The anagram for this type of proposal is CRAP
Conservative Republican Alternative Proposal

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently signed a highly controversial agreement that could add millions of Mexicans, some who worked here illegally, to the Social Security rolls. The U.S. - Mexico Totalization treaty is still in the preliminary stages of ratification and can be disapproved by Congress. It would allow persons who divided their careers between both countries to “total” the amount of work credits from both countries in order to qualify for benefits. TSCL is vigorously opposing the agreement and urging seniors, families and others concerned about their earned benefits to support legislation, H. Res. 720, that calls for Congressional disapproval of recently signed agreement.

The U.S. has signed some twenty such agreements with other countries like Canada, but TSCL believes that an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico would be different. Although the SSA fact sheet says that, “a totalization agreement with Mexico would have a negligible long-range effect on the Trust Funds,” both Social Security’s own Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have said that the cost of the agreement is “highly uncertain” because the Social Security Chief Actuary did not take into account an estimated 5 million Mexicans who are in this country illegally. TSCL is concerned that the uncertain cost could put the Social Security trust fund at risk."

Under U.S. Social Security law, illegal immigrants cannot claim benefits, but, if an illegal immigrant works using an improper Social Security number, the illegal worker will earn U.S. Social Security work credits. If an immigrant later obtains a legitimate U.S. Social Security number, the worker can then claim those work credits if the earnings can be documented.

Illegal Immigration Spikes

TSCL is also concerned that the treaty will encourage more illegal immigration. In recent months, the media has reported that illegal immigration from Mexico is surging as thousands of immigrants a day pour across the U.S. border. According to The Wall Street Journal, illegal immigrants hope to get work visas under a temporary worker program proposed by President Bush earlier this year, although no legislation has been enacted yet. While the number of people crossing illegally is unknown, The Wall Street Journal reports that at one of California’s busiest crossing points the number of migrants seized is 40% higher than during the same six-month period a year ago.

According to a House Ways and Means Committee fact sheet, proposed totalization agreements are sent to Congress. The agreement becomes effective after Congress has been in session 60 days, unless Congress takes the step to adopt a resolution of disapproval.

Legislative Alert! Both citizens and our elected lawmakers in Congress must be proactive to stop this agreement! It’s urgent that you contact your Members of Congress at once! Ask him or her to take the step of adopting H. Res. 720 a Resolution of Disapproval to stop the U.S. – Mexico Social Security agreement. Says George Smith, TSCL’s volunteer Chairman of the Board of Trustees, “Paying benefits for work done by individuals while illegally in America is akin to crediting them for breaking the law. This, we feel, is wrong.”

Sources: “United States/Mexico Totalization Agreement Fact Sheet,” Social Security Administration, June 2004. “Border Jumping From Mexico Surges,” Joel Millman, The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2004. “Social Security: Proposed Totalization Agreement With Mexico Presents Unique Challenges,” Barbara D. Bovbjerg, GAO, September 11, 2003. “Congressional Response Report: Social Security Administration Benefits Related to Unauthorized Work,” James G. Huse, Jr. Inspector General, Social Security Administration, March 18, 2003. “Fact Sheet — Social Security Totalization Agreements,” House Ways and Means Committee, July 7, 2004.


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