Law Professor Lauren Gilbert of St. Thomas University Discusses Hoeven-Corker’s Denial of Social Security Credit for the Unauthorized

Now that the United States Congress is back in session, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) – passed by the US Senate in late June – could be brought for a vote in the US House of Representatives.  As a result, little known provisions in the Hoeven-Corker Amendment to S. 744 are receiving additional scrutiny.

In a recent op-ed for The Miami Herald, Professor Lauren Gilbert of St. Thomas University School of Law further considers the amendment’s impact.  In particular, Professor Gilbert focuses on an issue identified by Center for Migration Studies Executive Director Donald Kerwin in an earlier piece for the Huffington Post: the denial of individuals transitioning to lawful permanent residents from receiving credit towards Social Security benefits for work performed while in unauthorized status.

Both Mr. Kerwin and Professor Gilbert report that the unauthorized pay substantial payroll (and other) taxes, citing various accounting figures that show earning contributions to Social Security by unauthorized workers.  Currently, under the Social Security Protection Act of 2004, if a noncitizen becomes work-authorized, then all of his or her social security-covered earnings count, including earnings from unauthorized work.  However, if the current version of S.744 passes the House, newly legalized persons will not get credit for earnings made into the system from December 31, 2003 to January 1, 2014 unless they can show that they were assigned a social security number before 2004 or that they were authorized to work at the time.  According to Mr. Kerwin and Professor Gilbert’s analysis, this would unduly impoverish and punish those on a path to citizenship.

To read Professor Lauren Gilbert’s full article, please visit: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/09/10/3617782/immigrant-workers-face-social.html#storylink=cpy.

And for more information on this issue, read Donald Kerwin’s article at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donald-kerwin/wage-theft-and-the-senate_b_3591859.html.