- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2015

The administration doled out about 90,000 Social Security numbers to illegal immigrants in the first months of President Obama’s first amnesty in 2012, according to two GOP senators who demanded Thursday to know how many since then have been granted, and whether any benefits are already being paid out.

Mr. Obama’s 2012 amnesty applied to so-called Dreamers, and was a test run for his broader amnesty announced last November, with more than 600,000 young adult illegal immigrants being granted a stay of deportation and work permits, which entitle them to Social Security numbers.

Sens. Ben Sasse and Jeff Sessions say about 90,000 Dreamers got Social Security numbers between Aug. 15 2012, when the first applications rolled in, and Jan. 8, 2013, and in a letter to Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin they asked how many more were granted after that.

Social Security numbers are also the key to unlocking a number of benefits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, Social Security disability payments or Social Security’s supplemental income program. The two senators asked Ms. Colvin to reveal how many Dreamers have been paid benefits under those last two programs.

“Taxpayers have a right to know the full costs of President Obama’s unlawful executive amnesty,” said Mr. Sasse, Nebraska Republican. “Every week we learn more about the hidden costs of the president’s actions and Congress has an obligation to hold the Administration accountable for every taxpayer dollar.”

The 90,000 Social Security numbers issued in the first five months of the program suggests most of those approved under the amnesty will end up getting one. Publicly available data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which approves the applications, shows about 125,000 applications were approved through December 2012.

Social Security said it would respond publicly after replying to the senators.

According to immigrants who have been through the process, the time it takes to get a Social Security number varies.

Immigrants who have been working in the U.S. illegally, and paying taxes under an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, can transfer their work history from their ITIN to their new Social Security number for tax purposes and eventual benefits.

That will be a bigger issue with Mr. Obama’s new amnesty, announced in December, which is expected to cover as many as 4 million illegal immigrants. Budget analysts predict about half of them will end up applying for the amnesty, and almost all of them will also be granted work authorization.

Neither amnesty grants full permanent legal status, which means those approved are still denied benefits from Obamacare and many other welfare programs. But they are entitled to driver’s licenses, many tax cuts and to eventually receive Social Security and Medicare benefits by dint of having a Social Security number.

One of Congress’s official scorekeepers calculates that those approved for the new amnesty will file $2 billion worth of claims for the Earned Income Tax Credit over the next five years.

A federal judge has halted the expanded amnesty, but the administration filed a request with an appeals court Thursday asking that the injunction be lifted and the amnesty be allowed to take effect immediately.

Justice Department lawyers said illegal immigrants are being harmed by the delay in being able to apply.

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