NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 30, 2004

A proposed "totalization" agreement with Mexico that would allow illegal workers in the United States to receive Social Security benefits would further drain a system teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, says conservative commentator Phyllis Schlafly.

The United States has "totalization" agreements with many developed countries with similar retirement systems. Totalization agreements enable those who work in two countries to totalize payments made into the pension systems of both countries. This, in essence, prevents employees from being double-taxed for benefits received.

A totalization agreement with Mexico, however, would cost American taxpayers, says Schlafly, since the system there is not equivalent to the U.S. system:

  • Mexican workers must work 24 years to receive retirement benefits in their country, compared to only 10 years for American workers.
  • Workers receive retirement benefits equal only to what they pay into their system, plus interest -- whereas, the American system is set up to give lower-income workers far more than what they pay into Social Security.
  • Mexico's retirement system actually consists of two programs -- one for public-sector employees and one for private workers (which only covers 40 percent of the private-sector work force).

Furthermore, the 10 million illegal Mexican immigrants in the United States have built up little equity into their country's retirement system, leaving United States taxpayers to foot the bill.

Source: Phyllis Schlafly, "Illegal Immigrants from Mexico Pose Real Threat to Social Security,", November 15, 2004.


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