Montana Politics

Dennis Rehberg: Fighting Imaginary Battles for You!

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Dennis is back at it again, demagoguing an issue to appeal to Mark French

voters and the squirt gun brigade at the Liberty Convection. The imaginary issue he’s tackling this time? Social Security benefits for illegal aliens. From Rehberg’s press release:

“It’s no wonder this country has a serious problem with illegal immigration,” said Rehberg, the co-chairman of the House Northern Border Caucus. “As long as we’re rewarding people for breaking the law by letting them count income earned through illegal work toward future Social Security benefits, people are going to keep coming. On the one hand, we’re telling foreigners not to risk their lives attempting sometimes deadly border crossings, and on the other hand we’re giving them a check when they get here. Talk about sending the wrong message.”

I’m pretty sure that Representative Rehberg doesn’t understand how Social Security works. It’s not quite like being a gentleman goat farmer—the checks for Social Security don’t come immediately. Somehow, I doubt the Social Security officials are waiting at the border to hand out checks or that most aliens come here for the allure of Social Security benefits in 40 years.

It’s the perfect Rehberg “issue.” Inspired by Rush LImbaugh and Fox News assertions, he implies that illegal aliens are receiving Social Security benefits now and coming to the United States to receive them. It’s just not true. Federal law is actually quite clear about this, as FactCheck notes:

We’ll just quickly note that illegal immigrants are broadly disqualified from collecting benefits from government programs, according to U.S. Code, with only limited exceptions.

These are the only circumstances under which illegal immigrants can lawfully receive government assistance. Notably absent from this list is any type of Social Security benefits. To repeat: Illegal immigrants cannot legally receive Social Security benefits, and Congress isn’t about to vote on legislation that would change that.

If Representative Rehberg could simply devote 10% of the time he spends on inane stunts actually working for the people of Montana, it would be a marvel. There’s certainly little reason to believe that’s going to happen, though.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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