According to a new study, immigrants take more social security out of the system than they contribute, while native born Americans pay more than they get back.
In findings that call into question calls for more immigration to save the social safety net system, the Federation for American Immigration Reform report found that adding more migrants will doom Social Security earlier than the 2034 date already predicted.
Spencer Raley, FAIRs’s research director, found that on average Americans put more into Social Security than they get.
Native-born Americans spend at least five years more in the workforce than a typical immigrant, and contribute about $282,000 to the program and take roughly $271,000 in benefits. That’s about 96% of what they pay into it, said the report shared with Secrets.
Immigrants, because they come to the country after when most younger Americans start working, pay in about $250,000 and drain $269,000, or about 110% of their tax.
With concerns that Social Security will default because of the growing population of older Americans taking benefits, pro-immigration advocates have called for letting in more legal migrants to work and keep the system afloat.
But FAIR said their report shows that such a move is questionable, in part because many migrants take low-paying jobs, which means fewer dollars going into Social Security.
“We clearly can’t immigrate ourselves out of the Social Security deficit,” said FAIR President Dan Stein, of the report titled, Mass Immigration Won’t Save Social Security.
And illegal immigration isn’t the answer either. FAIR’s report said that illegals cost U.S. taxpayers billions annually.
The results were similar to those in a 2005 Social Security Advisory Board study, said FAIR.
Immigration reform has been a key issue in the Trump administration. It has moved to build a border war, has cut illegal immigration substantially, and also limited legal immigration.
The immigration reform advocacy group did offer two key recommendations to change U.S. migration laws that could help Social Security.
First, it called for an end to “chain migration” in which new immigrants can bring family members, often older, into the country. They called for the passage of the GOP-sponsored Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy Act, or RAISE Act, that would give preference points to those under the age of 35 and hold a college degree.
And it supported the effort by President Trump to enforce the “public charge” rules that bar immigrants who are likely to require welfare to survive in the United States.
“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.”
“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.