GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin: No benefits for illegal immigrants
The Kansas City Star
The recent announcement by the Department of Homeland Security that it will stop deporting and begin giving work permits to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children has again sparked a larger debate about immigration.
The idea of illegal immigrants receiving federal benefits like food stamps or Social Security is unacceptable to most Americans. We welcome legal immigrants who can contribute to these programs and in turn can receive benefits. But if you have not paid into the programs, and you are not legally in this country, you should not be allowed to receive benefits.
Not surprisingly, it is illegal already for illegal immigrants to receive federal benefits. The Department of Homeland Security has a system called the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program. The system was created in the 1980s to allow government agencies to confirm an individual’s immigration status before giving them benefits.
Amazingly, there is no requirement that federal programs actually use this system. Since the rule of law is under assault by the Obama administration, particularly when it comes to immigration, it is unlikely the Department of Homeland Security would even start checking immigration status on their own initiative. That is why I recently introduced the VERIFI Act, which would require an individual’s immigration status to be checked before receiving any benefits.
Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are already unsustainable in meeting their future obligations to American citizens. According to a study in 2010, illegal immigrants in the United States cost the federal government nearly $29 billion per year and cost state and local governments another $84 billion per year. This study estimated that illegal immigrants currently receive over $10 billion annually in medical care and federal benefits. My bill would eliminate this illegal expense and result in sizeable savings.
The United States has a strong history as a nation built by immigrants and founded on the rule of law. Unfortunately, illegal immigration is a serious issue, causing both economic and security threats. We cannot maintain our obligations to the American people if we allow illegal aliens to benefit from programs to which they don’t contribute. We must secure our borders and fix our immigration system; my new bill, the VERIFI Act, is a step in the right direction.
Todd Akin, of Wildwood, Mo., represents Missouri’s 2nd District in the U.S. House. He serves on the House Budget Committee and is subcommittee chairman of the seapower and projection forces on the House Armed Services Committee.