(CNSNews.com) - Don't you dare give our Social Security benefits to illegal aliens, a group of senior citizens told Congress on Wednesday.
The Seniors Coalition -- a free-market advocacy group -- is pressing for legislation that would block any attempt to have the Social Security Administration pay benefits to people who come to this country illegally.
At a news conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday, The Seniors Coalition (TSC) aired its concerns and discussed its ongoing petition drive.
"Protecting the Social Security benefits of senior Americans has always been a priority of The Seniors Coalition," said TSC spokesperson Flora "Grandma" Green.
"We consider any proposal that would pay out Social Security benefits -- our benefits -- to people who have violated federal law and entered our country illegally, and who may have never paid into the Social Security program, as an attack on seniors' interests that must be defeated."
The 81-year-old Green spoke to the crowd while standing in front of a pile of petitions - 124,000 of them.
"These 124,000 petitions from Seniors Coalition supporters are a sign that seniors recognize an unjust and unwise proposal when they see one, and won't stand idly by while their Social Security benefits are whittled away by lawbreakers."
U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) honorary chairman of the TSC effort, was among 20 Members of Congress who attended Wednesday's press conference. He praised The Seniors Coalition for "correctly recognizing that adding 12 million illegal aliens to the Social Security rolls is the greatest threat Social Security has ever faced."
According to TSC, such a dramatic expansion of recipients could cost the Social Security program an additional $350 billion.
"I salute The Seniors Coalition's courage in standing up to the radical open-borders immigration lobby and powerful corporate interests who have teamed up to raid the coffers of retirees who have worked all their lives to support a system they depend on," Rohrabacher said in a press release.
Rohrabacher has introduced a bill (HR 1631, the "No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act of 2003") that would prohibit the Social Security Administration from extending payment of benefits to illegal aliens.
Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), head of the Immigration Reform Caucus, called it "common sense legislation" that would reduce the incentive for illegal aliens to sneak into this country.
Members of Congress who joined Reps. Rohrabacher and Tancredo in calling for legislation to prevent benefit payments to illegal aliens included, among others, Reps. Charlie Norwood (R-Ga.), Howard Coble (R-NC), Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), and Ginny Browne-Waite (R-Fla.).
The Bush administration's immigration reform plan, announced last month, would set up "a temporary worker program" that matches "willing foreign workers (undocumented immigrants) with willing American employers, when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs."
The administration has also investigated the possibility of giving illegals Social Security benefits for the time they worked in America.
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