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Senate Bill Will Give Illegals Social Security

From diversity loving Reuters:

Senate blocks effort to limit benefits to immigrants

18 May 2006 18:25:29 GMT

By Donna Smith

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate blocked an effort on Thursday to limit Social Security benefits for illegal immigrants who would become permanent residents under a sweeping immigration overhaul being debated by lawmakers.

The Senate immigration bill would give millions of the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants in the country a path to citizenship as long as they pay a fine and back taxes and meet such requirements as learning English.

The Senate is considering a number of amendments to the bill and was expected to vote later on Thursday on a measure offered by Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, that would make English the national language.

President George W. Bush backs a comprehensive approach close to what the Senate is considering and traveled to Yuma, Arizona, a front line for illegal crossings from Mexico, to shore up support for his plan to deploy up to 6,000 National Guard troops along the border.

Bush on Thursday formally requested congressional approval for $1.9 billion in emergency funding for his border security initiative.

Mexico said it would complain to Washington about plans to build security fences and deploy the Guard. "There are 12 million Mexicans on the other side, 12 million people who live every day in anguish about the need for a reform to let them live peacefully," Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Ernesto Derbez said.

The Senate also killed an amendment offered by Sen. John Ensign, a Nevada Republican, that would have prevented immigrants who legalize their status from getting Social Security credit for work while they were illegal.

"Social Security was not intended for people who entered our country illegally," Ensign said.


Opponents argued that the program collects millions of dollars every year from illegal workers and it would be unfair to deny them credit for those payments.

"Their money sits in the Social Security Administration waiting to be matched with an eligible beneficiary, and once those workers establish the eligibility, how in all fairness can we deny them the credit for their past contributions? " asked Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat.

Senators are pushing to complete the immigration bill, which would also create a new guest worker program, by the end of next week. After they pass the legislation, it faces tough negotiations with the House of Representatives, where a significant number of Republicans oppose the Senate approach, calling it an amnesty for people who broke U.S. law.

Austin Smythe, of the federal Office of Management and Budget, said that amount would be offset by deferring some spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan under a $68 billion supplemental budget request for the Defense Department being debated in Congress.

So far the bipartisan coalition pushing the comprehensive immigration bill has beaten back efforts to weaken it.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said the administration backed a Senate addition to the bill on Wednesday that would fund construction of 370 miles (595 km) of fencing in strategic areas along the U.S. border with Mexico.

The House bill calls for construction of about 700 miles (1,127 km) of fence along the southern border.

"He (Bush) doesn’t think you fence off the entire border but there are places … where fences are appropriate, and then, you build fences there," Snow said.



This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, May 18th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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