I’m getting several heads-up e-mails about a loophole in the recently House-passed S-CHIP bill that might create a new path for illegal alien health care benefits.
One Hill staffer writes:
Many people are saying during conference the conferees fixed the illegal immigration issues that pertain to the House-passed SCHIP bill by adopting the Senate language which said the Social Security Administration (SSA) will verify citizenship status. I do not see that as being the case after reading Title II Subtitle B.
Having the state submit names and SS#’s to the SSA does not close the loophole! All SSA can do is verify that the SS# is a valid SS# or not. This does not prove that someone is in the US legally. Illegal immigrants can still use a stolen valid SS#’s to get benefits—just as they do to gain illegal employment. The only way to guard against illegal immigrants from getting benefits is for them to show immigration documents—not SS#’s!
Additionally, Title VI Section 605 reads as follows: “No Federal Funding for Illegal Aliens. This section clarifies that nothing under this Act allows Federal funding to be spent on illegal aliens.” I feel this text is worthless if they are just checking SS#’s because there is no true verification of immigration status.
Here’s a Dear Colleague letter sent today by Rep. Nathan Deal alerting his fellow reps:
Later today, the Democratic Leadership will ask you to vote on a deeply flawed bill that seeks to spend billions of taxpayer-funded dollars to facilitate the enrollment of illegal aliens onto the rolls of the Medicaid Program. In fact, by overturning the existing federal requirement that States document the citizenship status and identity of individuals applying for public assistance under the Medicaid program, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates federal taxpayers will be forced to spend an additional $3.7 billion over the next ten years. When you add the required State-level spending, this results in a total $6.5 billion being spent on individuals who wouldn’t otherwise be qualified to receive these benefits.
H.R. 976 defrauds the American taxpayer out of billions of dollars by allowing States to use Social Security Numbers in the place of documents that actually prove citizenship status and identity. In response to this ridiculous provision, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) had the following response: “A Social Security card (or having a valid SSN) does not denote citizenship, and is not useful for determining citizenship status . . . Social Security cards issued to noncitizens who are residing permanently in the United States are identical to those issued to U.S. citizens. In addition, aliens who are in the United States temporarily are also eligible for valid SSNs.” (CRS Memorandum, “The Usefulness of Social Security Cards for Determining U.S. Citizenship”)
In a recent letter to Ranking Member McCrery, the Commissioner of Social Security, Michael Astrue, reinforces CRS’s findings and repeatedly states that his agency cannot determine the citizenship status of an individual by simply matching a name with a Social Security Number. Making the language in H.R. 976 even more egregious is the fact that this provision allows applicants to be approved for public assistance money without even showing any proof that they actually are the person they are claiming to be. Under this scheme, an individual could simply steal your name and Social Security Number and use it to access thousands of dollars in taxpayer-funded benefits. Is this the kind of behavior that the Democratic Leadership is seeking to encourage?
While I am a strong supporter of the SCHIP program, I simply cannot vote for a bill that flagrantly encourages illegal aliens to break our immigration laws and fraudulently enroll in taxpayer-funded public assistance programs. I ask that you join with me in voting against this deeply flawed bill and for a shorter-term extension of the existing program. Hopefully, with more time, we can develop a bipartisan, long-term reauthorization which will actually uphold our existing immigration laws.
Subcommittee on Health Committee on Energy and Commerce
Here’s the reply from the SSA’s Astrue to Rep. McCrery’s questions about the verification process/capabilities:
If it looks like shamnesty and quacks like shamnesty, it is shamnesty.
The switchboard for Congress is 202-224-3121.
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