The thousands of illegal immigrants I've known pay social security and income taxes, sales tax, gas tax, etc. They qualify but don't ask for income tax refunds. Historically illegal Poles, but not illegal Hispanics or Asians, have collected social security. Thus illegal Hispanics and Asians have kept social security solvent.
..many 1st generation Catholic immigrants...
Yes, there is a problem with the generation thing. First generation immigrant Hispanic Catholics (and Protestants) have the value system of honesty, hardwork, family as the safetynet, don't trust or accept anything from the government.
But as immigrants become Americanized in the 2d and 3d generation, they accept Hollyweird values of disrespect and independence from the family. (See the movie Spanglish.) To become Americanized is to switch from expecting the extended family to be the safety net to expecting the government to be the safety net.
When conservatives criticize immigrants for hanging on to their culture, those conservatives don't realize that for the immigrant, it is a choice between raising a daughter with family values or raising a daugher with Hollyweird values. The immigrants are making the right choice.
You know Thousands of Illegals? You really are a trip in specious reasoning and serial exaggeration. The Illegals we see here in our IL town are large consumers of public assistance. You can see it right at the local food mart when they hand over their food stamps to the cashier and tie up the line for minutes on end as the cashier tries to validate the stamps.
And the idea that the few Illegal Aliens who do pay into social security under some kind of bogus or stolen social security number are helping support Social Security especially given their low wages is pure rubbish. Like all the subsidized welfare and public benefits they take advantage of, Illegal Aliens get out much more than they pay in.
And if our government finds that it needs an ever higher population to support the actuarially bankrupt democrat entitlements not even the population of China would suffice at some point in keeping social security, Medicaid and Medicare solvent. The solution is to radically restructure those programs with large elements of privatization--not throw more people at it.