Too Appropriate to Make Up

Periodically, one comes across coincidences that are so appropriately rife with subtext that only a heavy-handed author would layer them in a fictional story. Putting aside the RI-welfare-state practice in question, there’s an example of reality’s too-obvious plot line in Elizabeth Gudrais’s Projo piece, “R.I. is ripe for welfare abuse, critics say“:

Last spring during General Assembly hearings on bills aimed at thwarting illegal immigration, some lawmakers asked whether the state was doing enough to limit social-service programs to people who are legally eligible for them.
The lawmakers’ questions focused on the practice of entering a standard code number — 666 — into the state computer system when someone seeking benefits such as welfare or childcare assistance can’t provide a valid Social Security number, generally available only to U.S. citizens and those with legal immigration status. …
Compared with other states, Rhode Island’s numbers are easy to track because all programs use the same code number. Back in the late 1980s, the developers of the computer system used by the social-services programs chose 666 because they needed a number that was not in use by the federal government as a prefix for Social Security numbers. Edward P. Sneesby, who was a policy officer with DHS at the time and is now the department’s associate director for program operations, says there were “only a handful of options” and that other states used the same number.

Taking our Social Security numbers as a form of identification, from the government’s perspective, how appropriate that those drawn under the government’s wing with no SSN identity of their own would be branded with 666! Woonsocket’s Rep. Jon Brien (a Democrat, incidentally)…

… finds it hard to believe that the law is being enforced without exception. “There exist actual guidebooks that are given to illegal aliens, once they get here, by social organizations in this state, telling them how to go about getting State of Rhode Island benefits,” he says.
“We’re talking about people who have just arrived here illegally, children in tow.”

What are the odds, I wonder, that the person to call for copies of the guidebooks would be Lucy Devlin (or some such), at extension 13? Perhaps when she hands one to you, she’ll say, “All these benefits the state of Rhode Island will give to you.”

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16 years ago

Carcieri should make getting the “grandfathered” illegals OFF the rolls part of his State Of The state address. Let Caprio, Sissyline and Looney Left Liz go on record on this absurdity for 2010.
As for babysitting, how about getting the state OUT of the babysitting business entirely? Also, 401k’s for all state and municpal workers. Plus end the “retire at 40” police/fire scam. Whatever happened to the 1000 layoffs? This governor needs to step up. He gets a C- from me, at best.

16 years ago

“Carcieri should make getting the “grandfathered” illegals OFF the rolls part of his State Of The state address.”
He’s already done it, Mike. It is, in fact, federal law which mandates that only citizens and legal immigrants can participate in social programs and Gov Carcieri has ordered compliance with this law.
This is why you have begun hearing sob stories in the media while, at the same time, state workers in certain departments have had to put up with serious verbal abuse upon informing some former recipients that they no longer qualify to receive benefits.

16 years ago

If you read the Projo story carefully you will find that 3200 “children” are STILL ON Rite Care and will stay on until 18 or 21 or whenever it ends. The program is (supposedly) closed to NEW illegal “children”.
How that meshes with the federal regs you mention I don’t know-but there was nothing in the article even implying that the 3200 “children” were going off the rolls anytime soon.
From the article:
“The state closed off RIte Care to new enrollments of undocumented immigrant children at the end of last year, but allowed enrolled children to remain in the program.”

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