Date: May 10, 1996



On May 2, 1996, the Senate passed H.R. 2202, the "Immigration Control and Financial Responsibility Act of 1996, " by a vote of 97 yeas to 3 nays.  After floor debate, the Senate replaced the text of the House-passed version of H.R. 2202 (see Legislative Bulletin 104-21) with the text of S. 1664, as amended.  H.R. 2202 as passed by the Senate would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to improve deterrence of illegal immigration to the United States. Both the Senate and the House must now appoint conferees and schedule a conference to reconcile the differences between the Senate-and House-passed bills

The Senate bill contains the following Social Security-related provisions.


  • Requires the Attorney General to develop a number of local and regional pilot projects to demonstrate the feasibility of alternative systems for verifying: (1) eligibility for employment in the U.S.; and (2) immigration status for purposes of eligibility for benefits under public assistance and other Government benefit programs. Projects are to begin within 6 months of the date of enactment and terminate within 4 years after the date of enactment.
  • Requires the pilot projects to test at least the following:

    • telephone verification of SSNs and verification of identity through U.S. passport, State driver's license or identification document. or INS identification document;

    • a counterfeit-resistant driver's license with a machine-readable SSN in States that already require an SSN on the license; and

    • a verification system of immigration status that would apply only to noncitizens (citizens would attest to their citizenship).

  • Provides that if the Attorney General determines that a pilot satisfies privacy, anti-discrimination, and accuracy criteria, the project's requirements will supersede current law. If a pilot is determined adequate, the Attorney General may require mandatory participation. However, no employer would be required to both part icipate in a pilot and meet current law requirements related to employment eligibility verification, once the pilot has been determined satisfactory.


  • Requires all Federal age ncies and State and local government agencies that issue driver's licenses and identification documents to accept only copies of birth certificates that conform to standards set by a Federal agency, to be designated by the President, in consultation with other appropriate Federal agencies and State vital statistics agencies. (Birth certificate requirements apply only to births registered in the U.S.)

Federal standards would be set forth in regulations and include:

    • certification by the issuing agency;

    • use of safety paper, the seal of the issuing agency and other features designed to resist tampering, counterfeiting, and duplicating for fraudulent purposes;

    • annotations on the original birth certificates that an individual is deceased based on information obtained from SSA, from an interstate system of birth-death matching, or otherwise ; and

    • copies of birth certificates issued after a person 's death to prominently note that the individual is deceased

  • Requires a report to Congress on the proposed standards within one year of the date of enactment. Regulations on the proposed standards would not go into effect until two years after the report is released.

  • Requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide grants:

    • to encourage States to develop the capability to match birth and death records, within each State and among the States, and to note the fact of death on Ute birth certificates of deceased persons; and

    • for projects in 5 States to demonstrate the feasibility of a system by which State vital statistics records would reflect in-State deaths within 24 hours.

  • Requires HHS, one yea r after the date of enactment, to submit a report to Congress on ways to reduce birth certificate fraud, including any usc of a birth certificate to obtain an SSN or State or Federal identification or immigration document.


  • Generally requires SSNs to be included on licenses or identification documents.(The requirement does not apply if the State had a law, policy, or regulation in effect prior to the date of enactment that; (I ) requires every applicant for a license to submit his/her SSN; (2) requires State verification with SSA that the SSN is valid and not a nonwork SSN; and (3) does not require the SSN to appear on the license.)

  • Phases-in the improved driver's license identification document form over six years beginning October I, 2000. Only improved licenses and identification documents could be used for evidentiary purposes by government agencies.


  • Prohibits payment of Social Security benefits to any noncitizen in the U.S. for any month the noncitizen is not lawfully present in the U.S. (to be determined by the Attorney Genera l). Effective for benefits based on applications filed on or after the date of enactment.

  • Requires the Comptroller General to conduct a study and report to Congress, no later than 18 months after enactment, on the extent to which noncitizens in the U.S. qualify for OASDI benefits based on their own earnings record.


  • Limits the payment of benefits to noncitizens under Federal, State, or locally funded needs-based public assistance programs, including SSI, to those who are:

    • lawfully admitted for permanent residence (LAPR);

    • refugees;

    • parolees who have been paroled for a period of 1 year or more;

    • asylees;

    • noncitizens whose deportations have been withheld under section 243 (h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA); and

    • noncitizens who have been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by family members living in the same household and noncitizens whose chi ldren have been battered by such individuals , if the battered individuals pet ition the INS (or have a petition filed on the ir behalf) for adjustment of their immigration status as spouses or children of citizens or LAPRs, or have been granted suspension of deportation under section 244 (a)(3) of the INA.

The provision would be effective upon enactment . SSA would be required to "notify individually or by public notice" all individuals whose eligibility would end under this provision.


  • Provides that all of the sponsor's (and sponsor's spouse's) income and resources would be deemed to the noncitizen-regardless of his or her entry or disability status--for a 5 - year period beginning the day the noncitizen was first lawfully in the United States. Deeming would end upon citizenship.

  • Provides that all of the sponsor's (and sponsor's spouse's) income and resources would be deemed to the noncitizen-regardless of his or her entry or disability status--for a 5 - year period beginning the day the noncitizen was first lawfully in the United States. Deeming would end upon citizenship.

Quarters earned by a spouse would be counted toward the 40 qualifying quarters under the same conditions if the individual and spouse filed a joint tax return. Likewise . if a sponsored noncitizen is listed as a dependent on another individual's tax return, quarters earned by such individual would be considered the noncitizen's .

  • Provides that only the amount of income and resources actually provided the noncitizen by the sponsor would be counted for deeming purposes, if a sponsor is indigent, and the agency makes a determination that without 55I benefits the noncitizen is unable to obtain food and shelter taking into account the noncitizen's income and cash. food, housing, and other assistance provided by any individual including the sponsor.

  • Provides that deeming would not apply for a 4-year period to noncitizens if they or their children have been batte red or subjected to extreme cruelty by family members living in the same household. The 4-year period would be extended if the battering were ongoing, has led to an order from a judge or INS, and the battery or cruehy has a causal relationship to the need for benefits.

The provisions would be effective upon enactment, except for the 40-qualifying-quarter provision which is effective with respect to new legally enforceable affidavits of support (see below).


  • Provides that aflidavits would be made legally enforceab le aga inst the sponsor by the sponso red immigrant, the Federal, State, and local governments and would be required to include the sponsor's agreement to support the noncitizen until he or she has, or is credited with, 40 qualifying quarters.

  • Requires the agency to seek reimbursement from the sponsor for any assistance the noncitizen receives; if the sponsor does not reimburse, the agency may take legal action against the sponsor to recove r monies . The Commissioner of Soci al Security would be required to promulgate regulations regarding such a reimbursement process.

The Secretary of State. Attorney General, and Secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to develop a legally enforceable affidavit no later than 90 days after enactment.


  • Requires the sponsor of an immigrant to provide hislher SSN on the affidavit of support .

  • Requires the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to develop an automated system to maintain the SSN data.

  • Requires the Attorney General to submit an annual report to Congress on the total number of sponsors and the number in compliance with the financial obligations of the sponsor-to-alien deeming provisions.


  • Provides that any noncitizen who receives more than 12-months, worth of benefits within the 5-year period after admission for lawful permanent residence under Federal. State, or locally funded needs-based programs (with several exceptions) would be considered deportable as a "public charge. " Would not apply if a noncitizen has physical illness or injuries so serious tha t they could
    not work at any job. or a mental disability that required continuous hospitalization.

  • Provides that in cases in which the noncitizen or his or her child were battered or subjected to extreme cruelty, the 12-month period would be 48 months and could be longer if the batte ring were ongoing.

Would apply only to noncitizens who enter United States on or after the date of enactment and to those who entered prior to enactment but adjust or apply to adjust their statuses on or after such date.


  • Requires the Commissioner of Social Security to develop a prototype of a counterfeit-resistant Social Security card that:

    • is made of durable, tamper-resistant material (e.g., plastic);

    • employs technologies that provide security features (e.g., magnetic stripe); and

    • provides individuals with reliable proof of citizenship or legal resident alien status.

  • Requires the Commissioner of Social Security to study and report on different methods of improving the Social Security card application process, including:

    • evaluation of the cost and workload implications of issuing a counterfeit-resistant Social Security card for all individuals over a 3- , 5-, and 10-year period; and

    • evaluation of the feasibility and cost implications of imposing a user fee for replacement cards and cards issued to individuals who apply for such a card prior to the scheduled 3-, 5-, and 10-year phase-in options.

  • Requires the Commissioner to submit the report and a facsimile of the prototype card to the Congress within one year of the date of enactment.