Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Social Security and Welfare for Illegal Immigrants

Born in the U.S. Means U.S. Citizen
Some panders are so transparently improbable that Panderbear wonders how anyone, no matter how ill-informed and subject to confirmation bias, could credit them. Two such panders involving undocumented immigrants arise again and again: illegals are receiving billions of dollars of welfare payments and Congress has or is about to authorize Social Security benefits for illegal immigrants.

Regarding Social Security payments to illegal immigrants, non-partisan website FactCheck.org says, "Congress hasn’t voted on any measure to pay benefits to illegal immigrants, and has no plans for any such vote." FactCheck.org further states, "We first saw this bogus claim bandied about as a Republican campaign theme during the 2006 midterm elections."

The 2008 American Immigration Lawyers Association list of top immigration myths says, "As the Congressional Research Service points out in a 2007 report, undocumented immigrants, who comprise nearly one-third of all immigrants in the country, are not eligible to receive public 'welfare' benefits — ever." In fact "even legal immigrants are severely restricted in the benefits they can receive."

Children of undocumented immigrants born in the U.S. are U.S. citizens and may be eligible for benefits. Conservative immigration hawks mischaracterize payments for the benefit of these young Americans as payments to undocumented immigrants in a deliberate attempt to stir up anti-immigrant sentiment among credulous voters.

While false claims regarding illegal immigrants receiving Social Security and welfare usually appear in the context of bogus chain emails, Republicans have not been loathe to use these non-issues to pander to the hardcore xenophobes or the simply ill-informed among their constituents.

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  1. It's important to track things that get said in chain e-mails - they may burst out from time to time. Are you doing this in a more general way?

  2. Thanks for your comment. Liar! Liar! focuses on pandering politicians. Chain e-mails are mentioned in passing in a few posts, as it is in this one, and are presented for comparison purposes in the Truth Quotient Rankings and Truth Quotient History posts. Panderbear thinks PolitiFact.com does a fine job of documenting the latest e-mail panders. Still, it wouldn't hurt to explore a bit more of the connection between what's being said in recent chain e-mails and what the candidates are saying.