Terry Jeffrey

One thing Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain all have in common is that they voted to give retroactive Social Security benefits to illegal aliens who committed document fraud.

Indeed, McCain voted for it before he was against it.

On May 18, 2006, when the immigration reform proposal advocated by McCain was on the Senate floor, Sen. John Ensign of Nevada offered an amendment.

As written, the bill immunized illegal aliens from being prosecuted for document fraud, including using a stolen, or a fake, Social Security number. Additionally, the bill did not stop the current practice of allowing aliens who are eventually granted permanent legal residency to go back and claim credit with the Social Security Administration for work they did as an illegal.

Thus, the immigration reform proposal advocated by McCain in 2006 would not only have added millions of illegal aliens to Social Security rolls, it would have protected these aliens from being prosecuted for fraudulently using other people's Social Security numbers.

Ensign sought to buffer the blow of this double-barreled attack on fiscal responsibility and the rule of law. His amendment let stand the provision granting illegal aliens immunity from prosecution for document fraud, but it denied them the ability to claim Social Security benefits based on work they did while fraudulently using someone else's -- or a fabricated -- Social Security number.

When Ensign's amendment came up, McCain tried to seize the moral high ground by suggesting supporters of Ensign's amendment were trying to confiscate someone's "nest egg." "If this amendment is enacted," he said in a floor speech, "the nest egg that these immigrants have worked hard for would be taken from them and their families."

"I believe the amendment is wrong," McCain said.

Ensign did not "calm down" and go away.

"Is he aware that it is a felony to use someone else's Social Security number?" Ensign asked of McCain.

"I am aware of that," McCain said.

"Under this legislation, we forgive that felony," said Ensign. "We grant amnesty for that felony."

Now, the Straight Talker double-talked. "Under this legislation," McCain responded, "we allow the illegal immigrants a path to citizenship which, if they are convicted of felonies or misdemeanors, according to an amendment, then they would be ineligible to embark on that path to earn citizenship"

Ensign neatly parsed this evasion. "Right," said Ensign. "But ... in Sections 601 and 614 of the legislation, it actually ensures that aliens who receive legal status cannot be prosecuted for document fraud, including the false use of Social Security numbers. Is the senator aware of that?"

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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