Monday, July 03, 2006

Feds Hide Social Security Deal With Mexico

Feds Hide Social Security Deal With Mexico
NewsMax ^ | July 3, 2006 | Dave Eberhart

WASHINGTON -- "We might be on the cusp of giving billions of dollars worth of our senior's Social Security money to illegal Mexican workers, and it's getting almost no media attention whatsoever," warned Brad Phillips, a spokesman for TREA Senior Citizens League, one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups with 1.2 million members.

TREA Senior Citizens League filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in U.S. District Court Thursday morning - after what the group styled as "numerous refusals over three years by the U.S. Department of State and Social Security Administration to provide a draft of - or virtually any pertinent information regarding - the impact of the Totalization Agreement with Mexico on the U.S. Social Security Trust Fund."

The Totalization Agreement could allow millions of illegal Mexican workers to draw billions of dollars from the U.S. Social Security Trust Fund. The agreement between the U.S. and Mexico was signed in June 2004, and is awaiting President Bush's signature.

"President Bush has expressed his support for this Agreement, and we believe that regardless of the current immigration debate, his most likely window for signing it is immediately after the 2006 midterm elections when no one is looking," TREA spokesman Brad Phillips told NewsMax.

Once President Bush approves the agreement, which would be done without congressional vote, either house would have 60 days to disapprove the agreement by voting to reject it.

"We are outraged that our government won't tell us how much they plan to take out of the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for the Totalization Agreement with Mexico, and we want to know what they're hiding," said Ralph McCutchen, Chairman of the TREA Senior Citizens League.

"Our 1.2 million elderly members didn't play by the rules and sacrifice through two World Wars so we could fund millions of workers who crossed the border and decided to work here illegally," McCutchen added.

Under the Totalization Agreement, millions of illegal Mexicans working in the United States today could claim benefits from the Social Security Trust Fund for work performed while in the United States illegally. They could do so through immigration amnesty, through which they could claim past Social Security payments for illegal work.

They could also potentially return to Mexico and claim credits for illegal work in the U.S., or claim payments through other as yet undisclosed methods.

The U.S. currently has 21 similar agreements in effect with other nations, which are intended to eliminate dual taxation for persons who work outside their country of origin. All of the agreements are with developed nations with economies similar to that of the U.S.

For example, a worker who turns 62 after 1990 generally needs 40 calendar quarters of coverage to receive retirement benefits. Under Totalization agreements, a partial benefit can be paid based on the proportion of the worker's total career completed in the paying country.

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