During the debate over the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Senator Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) claimed that “undocumented immigrants do not have Social Security numbers, and they do not qualify for stimulus relief checks, period.” He was wrong on both counts.
Millions of illegal immigrants do have Social Security numbers (SSNs), and they will receive billions of dollars in stimulus money. But leave the money aside for now and consider the more basic problem: The U.S. government has chosen to issue SSNs to millions of people who are not even supposed to be in the country. It’s a clear indication that America is simply not serious about enforcing its immigration laws.
To be clear, the illegal immigrants given work authorization are not guest workers; they are not green-card holders (permanent immigrants); they are not tourists. They are illegal aliens who, under the current system, are still given work authorization and Social Security numbers, year after year after year. This allows them to receive cash payments such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Additional Child Tax Credit, and COVID-19 relief checks. If none of this makes sense to you, then you are at least beginning to understand how our immigration system works.
So who are the illegal aliens who have Social Security numbers? They fall into a number of different categories outlined in a new Center for Immigration Studies report. They include about 650,000 recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and about 400,000 with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). DACA is the administrative amnesty President Obama created for adult illegal immigrants who arrived as minors. TPS is supposed to be a short-term program for people who cannot return (or be returned) to their home countries temporarily because of a natural disaster or civil strife. But, like much else in our immigration system, TPS has been so abused by immigration advocates, immigration lawyers, and successive administrations that the vast majority of people covered by the program have been here for at least a decade, and many have been in the program for two decades.
In addition to DACA and TPS, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued some 880,000 work permits to other illegal immigrants. Among the eligible categories are adjustment-of-status applicants, suspension of deportation, asylum, and applicants, as well as those given withholding of removal or deferred action (non-DACA) and parolees. Those who get a work permit receive an SSN along with it.