Aliens, Social Security, and a Potential for Fraudulent Weddings

By David North on February 13, 2023

We wrote the other day about the odd relationships between illegal aliens, on one hand, and the Social Security program, on the other. We mentioned the fact that much work done by illegal aliens leads to contributions to the Social Security trust fund, but does not lead to benefits for most of those illegal-alien workers.

That fact, and my ongoing work with (among other things) illicit marriages between aliens and citizens, marriages designed to produce green cards for the aliens that often produce heartache for its citizen victims, gave me an idea.

That idea is that logic (if no data, as yet) suggests that there must be at least some weddings between retirement-age illegal aliens and citizens that are designed, not for love, but to produce Social Security checks for the alien.

Here we have a frustrated illegal alien, on one hand, wanting to retire but not having access to her or his Social Security credits and, on the other, a single citizen willing to nominally “marry” the worker for a payment of some kind. The alien, presumably single, also needs to know enough about various governmental systems to realize that this may be the only way that the alien can start getting those checks.

Does this happen, and if so how often?

I know of no systems that would report such an event, but that does not mean that it does not happen. Further, unlike the routine sort of marriage fraud in which the alien breaks off with the citizen after the green card has been obtained, a system that creates an obvious victim, there are none in this scenario, unless, of course, the alien does not keep up the pattern of promised payments.

Further, the two government agencies involved are too busy grinding out benefits (with DHS it is green cards, and with Social Security it is checks) to bother to do the digging and the research to detect this perhaps obscure kind of illicit behavior. It is a silent kind of fraud in which there is no individual victim, just everyone else in the Social Security system.

Finally, efforts to detect it might be politically untenable. For example, the Social Security system could revise its basic application to include the date of the wedding of the would-be beneficiary to see if applicants with Hispanic names, for example, were more likely to have recent marriages than those with other names. If this turned out to be the case, the agency would then send investigators around to a sample of the households to see if these recent marriages were legit. I can hear the howl right now.

Maybe this is not happening to any real extent. Just as illegal aliens as a group did not take advantage of our asylum system in large numbers 10 years ago, maybe this is a loophole unused so far because of a lack of imagination.

If any of my readers have any thoughts on the subject, or know of real cases of this kind, please drop me a line at [email protected]. I also would be interested in learning of an electronic system that reaches Social Security caseworkers.

This is the second of a series of posts on aliens and Social Security.