Skip to comments.U.S.-Mexico Pact Revealed: Billions to Non-citizens
Posted on 01/05/2007 10:42:16 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
WASHINGTON -- As a result of lawsuits, the U.S. government released this week the actual U.S.-Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement, an understanding signed between the Bush administration and the Mexican government in 2004 that would funnel billions of U.S. Social Security funds to Mexican citizens.
TREA Senior Citizens League, a Washington-based nonpartisan seniors group, announced this week that after Freedom of Information Act lawsuits it filed against the government, it had received the secret agreement document.
Brad Phillips, a spokesperson for TREA, told NewsMax that the language in the agreement "raises more questions than it answers such as what is the cost and who is going to pay."
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has already warned that as a result of this agreement, the number of unauthorized Mexican workers and family members eligible for social security benefits will likely increase.
The Dreaded Loophole
TREA and other watchdog groups were hopeful that the agreement would directly address, and perhaps even moot, the hot-button issue of illegal immigrants at some point claiming U.S. Social Security benefits.
"A law called the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 forbids illegal immigrants from claiming Social Security benefits but a loophole exists," Phillips explained.
"If an immigrant gains what's called a valid work-authorized' Social Security number at some point, then he or she could eventually file a claim for benefits. The government would use all earnings to calculate the retirement benefit even earnings while working illegally," Phillips added.
The U.S. commissioner of Social Security signed the agreement with the director general of the Mexican Social Security Institute on June 29, 2004. TREA has fought to make it public for over three and a half years, according to a press release from the organization.
In the meantime, the agreement has been slowly making its way through mandated reviews by the State Department and the White House. Once the White House submits it to Congress, lawmakers will have 60 legislative days to review it.
Either chamber may vote to pass a Resolution of Disapproval of the agreement or it will take effect automatically at the end of the 60-day period. Furthermore, the Mexican Senate must affirmatively approve the totalization agreement.
In general, Totalization Agreements are between the United States and other countries to coordinate their respective social security programs. For instance, such agreements typically work to eliminate the need to pay social security taxes in both countries when companies in one country send workers to the other country. Also they are crafted to protect benefit eligibility for workers who split their working careers between the two countries.
According to TREA, if an illegal worker working in the United States today gets a "work authorized" Social Security number through guest-worker immigration legislation, the Totalization Agreement, or perhaps just over time that worker could eventually apply for Social Security benefits once the worker has met eligibility requirements.
For example, say TREA officials, a worker who turns 62 after 1990 generally needs 40 calendar quarters of coverage to receive retirement benefits. Under Totalization Agreements, workers are allowed to combine earnings from both countries in order to qualify for benefits.
The agreement with Mexico, like other Totalization Agreements, would allow workers to qualify with just six quarters, or 18 months, of U.S. coverage.
In addition, advised TREA, that worker could be able to claim credits for work performed while in the United States illegally. The SSA maintains an "earnings suspense file," which tracks wages that cannot be posted to individual workers' records because there is no match for a name and Social Security number.
Once an immigrant gains access to a work authorized Social Security number whether a legal citizen or not wages earned while in the United States unlawfully could be reinstated to the worker's new Social Security account, warned TREA officers.
Such writing-on-the-wall concerns are not just being sounded by TREA, however.
Warnings by the GAO
In a recent special report to Congress, the GAO voiced a number of issues latent in the agreement:
Playing by the Rules
"The Social Security Administration itself warns that Social Security is within decades of bankruptcy yet, they seem to have no problem making agreements that hasten its demise," said Ralph McCutchen, chairman of TREA.
"Our 1.2 million elderly members didn't play by the rules and sacrifice through difficult times so we could fund millions of workers who crossed the border and decided to work here illegally," McCutchen added.
TREA officers also warn that Mexico's retirement system is radically different than that of other participating countries.
For example, only 40 percent of non-government workers participate in Mexico's system, whereas 96 percent of America's non-government workers do. In addition, the U.S. system is progressive, meaning lower wage earners get back much more than they put in; in Mexico, workers get back only what they put in, plus accrued interest.
Uncovering the Ugly Truth
"I applaud the persistent efforts of TREA Senior Citizens League to try to get documents from the U.S. government about the U.S.-Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement," said Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. "The American people are finally beginning to get some of the information regarding this Agreement that they have been seeking for so long."
According to the Social Security Administration, the Social Security Trust Fund will begin paying out more than it is taking in by 2017, and will be exhausted by the year 2040.
Phillips noted that [before the emergence of the agreement] "the Administration always called it ludicrous to suggest that illegal immigrants could get their hands on our Social Security."
"We not hearing that anymore," Phillips lamented.
© NewsMax 2007. All rights reserved.
Quit now to keep them from getting money.
It is a wonder that the United States has lasted this long.
It'll be like Terminator: Rise of the Machines, except Skynet in this case is our own American government. Only a matter of time before all the Sarah and John Conners are locked up.
Good Lord. My poor country.
I think it is time for a march on Washington
From Mexico: THANK YOU VERY MUCH GRINGOS! ALL YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY ARE BELONG TO US NOW!
You've got that right. At this rate, we will become a 3rd or even a 4th World Country within 25 years. Poor children and young people. But I guess that by then they won't know what they will be missing. America is so dumbded down now that I guess by then, they will be content living like worker ants with their daily crumbs of stale bread.
Somewhere in the dark recesses of my brain there are tinkling questions as to why I voted for President Bush a second time.
What do they care, they get pensions funded by us outside of the SSN ponsi-scheme, protected and guaranteed. Hell, they even let large corps default on thier retirement plans when asked nicely.
It's no skin off thier nose, us serfs need to shut up and go back to the fields.
...then they go away after considering what the alternative is/was.
Social Security for Dummies:
"To receive most Social Security retirement benefits, a person must be "fully insured," which simply means that he or she has worked for a long enough time and has put enough money into the system. This is tracked using credits: You receive one credit for each quarter-year you work. So if you work for an entire year, you earn a total of four credits. To be eligible for retirement benefits, you need 40 credits. Since you can't earn more than four credits per year, you have to work for at least 10 years to ensure full eligibility. You have to earn a certain amount of money each quarter to get a credit for that quarter. This amount increases each year to adjust for inflation. In 2003, it was $890."
So I gather that American citizens can retire with 18 months credit now?
Where's the flying pig picture?
in the works....see my tagline, scheduled for Flad Day weekend. Not just in D.C., all across the country!
Most people have attributed his pro-hispanic leanings to various motives, but I think it is as simple as his sister-in-law (Jeb's wife) and nieces and nephews. Recall Papa Bush and his love for his "little brown children."
There is no reason Mexico should not be on par with the US and Canada economically. The US is essentially subsidizing Mexican corruption.
The bushbots should be along any time now to tell us all how we are misreading this. That this is a good thing. And that King George can do no wrong.
Our government hates us and loves the sweet evil whispering acolades of the media devils.
Social Security to illegals will fit in real well with the NAU. What a mess this country is getting itself into.
A lot of people say "follow the money". Well, I would like to follow the money on the Bush family but for some reason they are not listed by Forbes.
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