June 27, 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 urge you to vote for final passage of S. 744, the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.”

We agree with both the Congressional Budget Office and the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration (SSA) that comprehensive immigration reform is good for all Americans. The new members of the national family brought in by this bill will contribute to the growth of the economy and at the same time will help strengthen Social Security.

According to estimates prepared by SSA’s Chief Actuary, S. 744 will increase net revenue to the Social Security trust funds by about $300 billion over 10 years, will boost the economy by 1.63 percent adding 3.2 million jobs by the 10th year. Moreover, the Chief Actuary has said that, “Overall, we anticipate that the net effect of this bill on the long-range OASDI [Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance] actuarial balance will be positive.”

While the National Committee supports this legislation, we are disappointed that it includes a provision that will place restrictions on the ability of immigrants to receive credit for all of their earnings for the purpose of determining their eligibility to Social Security benefits.

Social Security benefits are a bedrock promise to workers who earn the right to benefits by paying payroll taxes over a lifetime of work. The inclusion of the modified Hatch-Rubio amendment in the final bill undermines this promise by denying lawfully present immigrants the value earned by the payroll taxes they paid on their earnings between 2004 and 2014, creating a second class of citizens when naturalization is granted. In addition, this amendment robs work-authorized immigrants of credit for disability and survivor benefits that families depend on if the breadwinner loses the ability to provide support due to death or disability. We are particularly concerned about what would happen to surviving children when – through no fault of their own – they lose benefits under this provision. The Hatch-Rubio amendment is just plain wrong. As immigration reform continues to move through the legislation process, we will work to remove this amendment.

Although we strongly object to the modified Hatch-Rubio amendment, the Senate’s final bill will treat hardworking immigrants more equitably and enable them to contribute more to our country. As a result, today’s generations of immigrants will strengthen our economy and the Social Security system, just like early generations of new Americans. For that reason, we urge you to support final passage of S. 744.



Max Richtman
President and CEO