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Letters to the Editor

Wed., April 3, 2013, midnight

Many benefits off-limits

Regarding the March 26 statement by Carleen Reilly that (unauthorized) immigrants “get much more than our poor here in the United States:” Unauthorized immigrants are not eligible for the following federal public benefits: Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), health care (Medicaid and Medicare) and food stamps.

Most documented immigrants cannot receive federal Medicaid, TANF, food stamps or SSI during their first five years or longer in the United States, regardless of how much they have worked or paid in taxes. However, immigrants pay taxes that fund public benefits. Between one-half to three-quarters of unauthorized immigrants pay federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes. All unauthorized immigrants pay sales taxes and property taxes (even if they rent).

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has stated that unauthorized immigrants “account for a major portion” of the billions of dollars paid into the Social Security system under names or Social Security numbers that don’t match SSA records. Immigrants cannot benefit from these benefits while they are unauthorized.

Paul McDonnell


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