Dear Editor:

While many readers may have been gratified to read the assurances of AARP's Arizona director David Mitchell, I was amazed at his audacity.

He limits his attention to the Bush "privatization" plan and totally ignores a much more serious threat to Social Security    the Bush "Social Security totalization treaty" with Mexico. Terms of the already-negotiated treaty allow Mexican illegal aliens to collect U.S. Social Security benefits after working only six quarters in the United States (1-1/2 years), even if they were in the United States illegally. The illegal alien only needs "documented evidence" of their illegal earnings to claim benefits.

The treaty has been drawn up and will soon be sent to President Bush for his signature.

Expecting that AARP would take a firm position against this financial disaster to Americans' Social Security, I contacted AARP's Customer Service Center in December 2003 and was appalled at their ignorance -- they knew nothing about the pending treaty.

On Jan. 26, 2004, I e-mailed Mitchell directly and he also claimed ignorance of the pending treaty, insisting that claimants "must have a Social Security number and 40 quarters" of earnings. When I pursued the matter informing Mr. Mitchell of the pending treaty, he continued denial by insisting "no one can collect Social Security if they're illegal aliens" and "there is no plan to grant Social Security benefits to illegal aliens."

When the completed treaty was publicly announced on July 2, 2004, I re-inquired of Mr. Mitchell regarding his original denial. The initial response was an "out of office reply." Although his Dec. 22, 2004, "letter" to the Ahwatukee Foothills News makes it clear that he's since returned to his office, I've never received a reply to the July 2 inquiry.

When I sent an online Web site inquiry on the matter to AARP, they responded that "AARP does not take a position on the issue you raised."

Upon my 55th birthday, I chose not to join AARP. It was very clear that AARP chose to ignore such a critical issue affecting older Americans. I just couldn't understand why. Until I read that AARP is a "Bronze Partner" of MALDEF (Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund), with AARP's donation of $1,000-$9,999 listed in MALDEF's 2003 Annual Report.

On Sept. 26, I again e-mailed Mr. Mitchell, asking if their alliance and financial support with Mexico was the reason for their silence on the "Social Security totalization treaty" with Mexico.

So far, Mitchell hasn't even sent me a card.

While Mitchell won't answer my inquiries, Matthew 6:21 does: "For where a man's treasure is, there will his heart be also."

They should at least practice "truth in advertising" and remove the first A in their acronym. They've evidently chosen to promote the interests of Mexico and MALDEF; they've clearly abandoned Americans.

Sandra Miller

Letter to Ahwatukee Foothills News, Phoenix AZ
RE: AARP's Senior Citizen Sellout
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