"There is no alternative but to ask our God," said Ali, 70・・・・
Unable to find work or receive retirement benefits, many older immigrants depend on family members for financial support. And with the economy collapsing, relatives who sponsored them for green cards and agreed to be financially responsible for them are increasingly having trouble doing so.・・・・・
Federal law limits access to benefits for elderly legal immigrants, making it difficult for them to get Supplemental Security Income, health coverage or cash assistance. Once they become citizens, obtaining federal benefits becomes much easier. Restrictions on assistance often result in even more pressure on family members in the U.S.
"The eligibility requirements for elderly immigrants are really draconian," said Gerald McIntire, directing attorney at the National Senior Law Center. "Even people who have demonstrated need are often not able to qualify for subsistence benefits."
Sometimes, even if senior immigrants are eligible for assistance, they are reluctant to ask for it because of the perceived shame or stigma.・・・・・
But Rick Oltman of Californians for Population Stabilization said taxpayers shouldn't have to support any elderly immigrants -- legal or not. Family members should honor the pledge they make to be financially responsible for the new immigrants, he said.・・・・・
Ali and his wife, Razia, 63, moved in with their daughter and son-in-law in 2006. Ali, who held a government job and owned a home in Pakistan, looked for work at numerous hotels and shops in Artesia, but he said the owners saw his white hair and "made excuses." Soon after his arrival, Ali was diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes. He gave up the job search・・・・・