Federal disability benefits could end for as many as 700 resident immigrantsby Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — An immigration attorney says federal disability benefits ended today for 89 Minnesota residents, many with military ties to the United States' war in Vietnam.
The total number of state residents affected by the cutoff of Social Security disability benefits will grow to more than 700, said Immigrant Law Center executive director John Keller.
The recipients are not U. S. citizens, and had been granted benefits with the assumption they'd be naturalized, Keller said. But many are too old or disabled to make citizenship likely, he said.
The group in question includes those people who have been displaced from their homeland and have been brought to the United States as legal refugees, or people who have been granted asylum but who also have physical or mental disabilities.
Keller and other advocates are lobbying Congress to extend the benefits for a year.
"There are people whose circumstances make it much more challenging and difficult and in some cases nearly impossible for them to become U. S. citizens," Keller said. "We need to honor our international humanitarian commitment to these folks and their families."
An immigration attorney says more than 700 Minnesota residents will lose their federal disability benefits. Immigrant Law Center director John Keller says the recipients are not U. S. citizens. They were granted refugee status and allowed to collected disability benefits. Keller says in many cases, the refugees helped the U.S. Military in the war in southeast Asia. Keller says their disability benefits should be extended.