By Stephen Dinan, January 4, 2007
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
An agreement the Bush administration reached with Mexico on Social Security benefits would allow illegal aliens granted amnesty in the future to claim credit for the time they worked illegally.
The deal was reached in 2004 but never released publicly because it hasn't been submitted to Congress. The TREA Senior Citizens League, a Social Security advocacy group, recently obtained the document through a Freedom of Information Act, and said it confirms the group's worst fears.
The document is a jumble of definitions and legal language, but a spokesman for the group said what's important is what's not in the text: It does nothing to prevent undocumented aliens who later get legal status from receiving benefits for the time they worked illegally. And that comes as the Social Security system's finances are about to be put under greater strain by the retirement of baby boomers.
"If you open up the trust fund to people who have been working in the country illegally for many years, that bankruptcy date can only come sooner," spokesman Brad Phillips said. "People on the other side of this, people who have been arguing that of course illegal aliens can't get their hands on Social Security benefits, now can't make that argument easily anymore."
But Mark Lassiter, a spokesman for the Social Security Administration, said the agreement doesn't change U.S. law. The law states that those who do not have authorization to work will not get benefits under a totalization agreement.