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Letter: Don’t Accept Misspeak of Others As Truth

(This letter is in response to the letter to the editor “Fake Immigration Solutions? LI Wins Leads the Pack!” which appeared in the Friday, Aug. 6 edition of the Farmingdale Observer.)

“I’d be detailing the facts as they are,” writes Mr. Hassett in his August 6 letter to the Farmingdale Observer. This implies that whatever he writes is based on sound factual information. Yet, one of his statements in the same letter is gross misspeak. He writes, “Incredibly, some already receive Social Security payouts and Medicare without having contributed a single penny into these funds.”  Mr. Hassett most certainly did not detail “the facts as they are.”  

Medicare is a federal program that can only be redeemed by those who have contributed through their employment taxes over a period of specified “quarters” using a valid Social Security number. The Social Security benefit can be drawn at 62 and the Medicare kicks in at 65. There are some exceptions such as for persons with disabilities but the cornerstone for eligibility is always a valid Social Security number and a recorded working history.  

Since no undocumented person can obtain a valid Social Security number or obtain permission to work here legally, they have absolutely no ability to access the Social Security/Medicare system. If they have a fraudulent Social Security card and number that they are using for employment purposes, it can only be used to deposit payroll deductions in an IRS account. They can’t redeem benefits on this number. If they tried, all the bells and whistles would go off. Their contributions to the Social Security system are essentially gifts to us. In an April 4th 2005 article in The New York Times, it was reported that undocumented immigrants contributed $7 billion dollars to the IRS Social Security program in that previous year. Those funds would never be able to be redeemed in benefits by their contributors. This happens every year.

There is a legal way that the undocumented can contribute their payroll taxes by using a TIN or Tax ID Number. This is recorded anonymously but does provide a valid history of work and paying taxes. Again, as long as they are undocumented there is no ability to redeem benefits.  

Regarding the argument that undocumented are entitled to welfare entitlements, let’s set the record straight on that. Since, the Welfare Reform Act known as “The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act” was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996, the undocumented have not been eligible for any Federal entitlement funds. That means, no food stamps, no housing benefits and no medical coverage, to name a few. There are some exceptions which I feel are based on sound public health principles rather than humanitarian concern.  They are: 1. certain emergency medical treatment such as the birth of a child (ensuring the welfare of a future American citizen); 2. Immunization against communicable diseases; 3. Service in a soup kitchen; 4. Attendance at public schools and county colleges; 5. Disaster relief from events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and terrorist attacks.

Check out The Times and Congressional record sources I mentioned above and research your own facts. Don’t rely on the misspeak of others which so easily becomes the mantra accepted as truth. Don’t be one of the observers who proclaim the magnificence of the King’s New Clothes. We all know how that story went.  

Janet Liotta

Farmingdale Citizens for

Viable Solutions, Inc.

La Casa Comunal