June 18, 2003
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From: Name Withheld
Re Sam Francis on the myth that immigration can save Social Security: There's also SSI [supplementary security income]. I work for the US Census Bureau on the current population survey, which is used primarily to measure the unemployment rate.
On rare occasions, I have to hire a translator to interview immigrants who know almost no English. One time, I hired this Korean woman - age 50-65, I'd guess. We talked about this and that on the way to the job. She said she worked sporadically as a translator for various government functions (i.e. court, police, etc) but that mostly she was retired and living on SSI. I asked her what ailed her to be on SSI. She explained that nothing ailed her, but she knew they'd give her SSI if she claimed to suffer from hyper-tension. She then rattled off a list of ailments (hyper-tension, back-pain, etc) that are hard to diagnose except by patient description. She said all you have to do is run down to the doctor and describe symptoms that fit the ailment you seek to be diagnosed with.
She explained all her friends have done the same as her and it's a common practice in their tightly-knit immigrant community.
This is why immigrants are not going to bail out our pension/disability programs. Immigrants eventually bring their parents over to use SSI as their pension plan. Of course, elderly immigrants can't get make much in the way of social security because they haven't worked in the U.S. and paid into the program over the years. So they use SSI - claiming disabilities that may or may not exist.
Withhold my name and location if you publish this because the Census Bureau hates it when its employees are involved in anything controversial.