WASHINGTON -- A conservative group is sending a new mailer to seniors, warning them that undocumented immigrants will cut into their Social Security benefits under proposed plans for comprehensive immigration reform in both the House and Senate.
The mailer, distributed by the Senior Citizens League and obtained by The Huffington Post Wednesday, claims that "of all the items being considered by our leaders in Washington, the illegal immigration amnesty plans hatched by the Obama administration presents the greatest potential threat to Social Security." The mailer also contains a personalized complaint form that individuals can fill out and return to the Senior Citizens League, which the group would then send to their elected officials in Congress. Not surprisingly, the reply form asks for a donation "to help cover the cost" of the national petition. The group used similar scare tactics to derail President Barack Obama's health care reform law.
The motivation behind the mailer is to build a campaign that would pressure those conservative lawmakers for whom a pathway to citizenship remains a contentious issue. Bipartisan working groups in the House and Senate have both developed frameworks for immigration reform that include a pathway to citizenship for the some 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, but opponents often refer to such a pathway as amnesty. Yet in both proposals, the process of gaining citizenship would be arduous and tied to border security enforcement. Immigrants with probationary legal status would also be required to go "to the back of the line" and would be prevented from accessing federal public benefits while waiting for permanent status.
Because there isn't a bill yet for the Congressional Budget Office to score, it is also difficult to pinpoint the cost immigration reform will have on Social Security. Stephen Goss, chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, has estimated a little over 3 million undocumented workers already pay into Social Security each year and receive little back in benefits. Undocumented workers and their employers paid $15 billion to Social Security in 2010, he said, without ever intending to collect benefits -- thus undocumented workers only received $1 billion back that year. Undocumented workers have contributed close to $300 billion, nearly 10 percent, of the $2.7 trillion Social Security Trust Fund, over the course of several years. And although immigration reform could cost billions, the White House and proponents of reform have argued that some of the costs would be offset by undocumented workers paying more in taxes.
Click through the full mailer below: