June 17, 2013

United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to express our support for Senator Mazie Hirono’s amendment to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), which would allow lawfully present individuals who are working and paying all applicable taxes to be able to access the federal safety net programs they pay for with their tax dollars, particularly Medicare and Medicaid. Contrary to what many Americans may believe, undocumented workers pay a myriad of taxes, including sales, property, payroll and federal income tax among others.

A 2006 study by University of California, San Diego found that 75 percent of undocumented immigrants had taxes withheld from their paychecks, filed tax returns or both. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the most recent attempt to pass immigration reform legislation in 2006 would have generated $66 billion over ten years in new tax revenue. In addition, Citizens for Tax Justice estimated that nationwide, undocumented families paid about $11 billion in state and local taxes in 2010 alone.

Stephen C. Goss, the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration, has reported that unauthorized immigrants contributed about $13 billion a year to Social Security, adding an estimated $300 billion over the years to the Social Security Trust Fund. This has helped boost the Trust Fund and extended its solvency by years.

Furthermore, researchers at Harvard and the City University of New York found that immigrants pay more into the Medicare Trust Fund than is spent on them.  The study found that between the years 2002 and 2009 immigrants contributed $115.2 billion more than they consumed in benefits.

Senator Hirono’s amendment allows immigrant workers who have achieved lawfully present status to use the programs their taxes pay for.  For that reason, the National Committee urges you to vote for the Hirono amendment to S. 744.


Max Richtman

President and CEO