''What makes the door so golden'' (Economic Trends, June 1) sets out to make a case that mature-age immigrants who have a shortened period of contribution to Social Security benefit disproportionately from it--and at the expense of U.S. citizens. The article seems to reflect a growing desire to take a cheap shot at legal immigrants, who have neither political representation nor other power of response.

Legal immigrants pay their way in full, and if there is an appearance that they are net winners in the Social Security game, it is illusory. Midlife immigrants tend to bring with them substantial tax-unqualified benefits in their retirement plans. Upon retirement, those benefits--accrued through service and contribution outside the U.S.--become fully taxable here. The immigrant does not have the protection of rollover into a tax-deferred vehicle, such as an individual retirement account, which benefits those who have spent their working life in the U.S. The real beneficiary is the U.S. Treasury, regardless of any Social Security payments made to the immigrant.

Rod McKellar


Updated June 11, 1998 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1998, Bloomberg L.P.
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