Mass Immigration A Net Drain on Social Security, Says New FAIR Study
(August 31, 2020, Washington, D.C.) — Immigrant workers are a net drain on the Social Security system, generally consuming more Social Security benefits than they contribute, according to a new report titled “Mass Immigration Won’t Save Social Security,” by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
“For those who are trying to sell the American public the myth that Social Security can only be saved by mass immigration, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee,” said FAIR President Dan Stein. “We clearly can’t immigrate ourselves out of the Social Security deficit.”
The study found that native-born Americans not only spend at least five years more in the workforce than a typical immigrant, they also pay more in social security taxes. During the course of their careers, native-born workers generally contribute roughly $282,000 to the program and receive roughly $271,000 in benefits, or 96 percent of what they paid into the program.
Immigrants, on the other hand, who typically spend at least five years less of their careers working in the U.S. than native-born Americans, pay approximately $250,000 into the Social Security program. However, despite paying $32,000 less in Social Security taxes than the average native-born citizen who worked 45 years, a foreign-born worker can expect to receive only about $2,000 less in retirement benefits – or 108 percent of what they paid into the program.
“It’s possible to design an immigration system that would bolster, not drain the already stressed Social Security system,” said Stein, “But that would require the nation to move away from its current system of chain migration and adopt a merit-based system,” he added. “Selecting immigrants based on their skill sets and talents rather than their family relationships ensures that when immigrants arrive, they will have the potential to obtain higher paid careers and thus be a net benefit to the system,” said Stein.
The study reiterates the findings of the Social Security Advisory Board, which in 2005 announced that they “do not view immigration as a panacea or free lunch – for saving Social Security.”
- Adopt Merit Based Immigration: The study recommends that adopting the RAISE Act, introduced by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and David Perdue (R-Georgia), would be an effective step in addressing the net drain on Social Security caused by mass family chain immigration. The RAISE act would give preference points to those potential migrants who are under the age of 35 and hold a college degree in fields that would further the interests of the United States.
- Uphold Public Charge Law: Low-earning households almost always take in far more in Social Security benefits than they contribute to the program throughout the duration of their careers. Enforcing the “public charge” rule would help ensure that those migrants who enter the United States earn enough to support themselves and their families. These higher incomes would lead to increased contributions to the Social Security program.
“Immigration in the national interest must start with selecting immigrants who possess the skills and talents to succeed, so they can hit the ground running once they arrive in the U.S.,” said Stein. “If Congress is serious about creating a sustainable Social Security system, an important component of that strategy must address the way we select immigrants,” he said.
Contact: Matthew Tragesser, 202-328-7004 or firstname.lastname@example.org