Firm’s FOIA Litigation Against Social Security Administration Leads to Release of U.S. – Mexico Totalization Agreement

Michael Harless FOIA Law, Publications

In response to our firm’s still-pending FOIA lawsuit on behalf of TREA Senior Citizens League (TSCL) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) finally released the “U.S.-Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement,” hand-delivering it to the firm in late December 2006.

This is the first known release of the Mexican Totalization Agreement to the public.  Previously even members of Congress have been denied access to this Agreement.  The Agreement now can be downloaded from this link:http://www.lawandfreedom/site/publications/us_mex_tot_agreement.pdf

This document release followed a 3-1/2 year effort in which we filed a series of FOIA requests for TSCL seeking documents relating to the Agreement (even prior to its finalization with Mexico) with both the State Department and the SSA.  The Mexican Totalization Agreement was formally signed in June 2004, but has not yet been submitted by President Bush to Congress.

The agreement, if allowed to go into effect, reportedly could result in illegal Mexican workers being paid billions of dollars in Social Security benefits, bankrupting an already strained Social Security Trust Fund.

Commenting on the lawsuit, Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) stated:  “I applaud the persistent efforts of TREA Senior Citizens League to try to get documents from the U.S. Government about the U.S.‑Mexico Social Security Totalization Agreement.  The American people are finally beginning to get some of the information regarding this Agreement that they have been seeking for so long.”