Crist: Immigration Reform Would Benefit Social Security
Florida governor Charlie Crist, who’s running for Senate as an independent, said Social Security could remain solvent longer if more immigrants were able to become legalized and pay into the system. Crist said he would push for immigration reform if elected to the Senate so that illegal immigrants in the country could earn citizenship and up the number of tax-payers.
Via Huffington Post:
“Studies show that 11-14 million people are in the country as non-citizens, and if we are willing to have a thoughtful, reasonable pathway to citizenship — earning citizenship — then those 11-14 million people can become productive, participating members of the American economy, paying the payroll taxes, helping Social Security going forward, and making America stronger financially,” Crist told The Huffington Post in an interview on Friday. [...]
Crist disputed the claim that there is a Social Security “crisis,” noting that it is projected to be solvent until 2037 or 2041. Nevertheless, bringing more immigrants into the system would, according to Crist, extend that even further. “I think that would be a responsible way to approach it going forward and realizing that number one, we hope the economy continues to improve — certainly that’s important,” he said. “And number two, by the time you get to 2037 or 2041, when expected problems may occur, you’ve already found a solution by increasing the number of citizens that are paying into Social Security, in a legal way.” He added that he would “absolutely” push legislation on this issue if he is elected to the Senate.
Undocumented workers already do pay into the system, just not in the same measure as they would if they were legal residents or citizens. In 2007, Social Security actuaries estimated that two-thirds of undocumented workers paid taxes for Social Security benefits, while far fewer received any benefits. If some were provided a path to legal status, they would receive more benefits, but also pay more into the system, which advocates say would benefit overall solvency of Social Security.