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The Disabled Fugitive Felon Project

Give us your poor, your sick and your disabled, and if they ever committed a bad act in the past, or if they didn't but we think they did, we will hunt them down and put them in jail.

Say hello to the Fugitive Felon program, now targeting retirees to take their social security and disability benefits from them.

Thousands of unsuspecting retirees could lose their Social Security (news - web sites) checks in the months ahead, some over false or unproven allegations, minor infractions or long-dormant arrest warrants.

The risk is a consequence of the Fugitive Felon Project, a little-known law-and-order measure created by Congress in 1996 to help apprehend suspects and to prevent fleeing criminals from using government benefits to elude arrest.

Project computers already match names on various welfare lists with names on felony warrants issued around the country. That screening process has led to thousands of arrests among recipients of disability checks alone, including 88 wanted on homicide charges.

But records and interviews also show that the computer dragnet frequently cut off federal benefits to the sick, poor and disabled who were neither fugitives nor felons. Many lacked financial and legal resources to get their benefits restored.

Here are two examples of the project in action:

In one case, an Oregon man with a mental disorder was named on an arrest warrant for entering a rental car without permission at an airport parking lot in 1999. Four years later, computers found the record, and the man's federal disability payments stopped. The man committed suicide last year, before his benefits could be reinstated.

An Oregon woman with lung disease lost her monthly disability check and faced the loss of her government-subsidized oxygen supplies over a Nevada arrest warrant she didn't know existed.

I hope AARP blanketing Congress with protests over this project.

[hat tip < Gov. Arnie Shows Support for Felons | Iraq Votes Counted: Religious Shiites Ahead >

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  • Re: The Disabled Fugitive Felon Project (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 09:21:34 AM EST
    Don't see anything wrong with it. Criminals should be punished, particularly the ones who escaped responsibility before.

    Re: The Disabled Fugitive Felon Project (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 09:28:43 AM EST
    Congress created? And who signed it into law?

    Re: The Disabled Fugitive Felon Project (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 09:41:32 AM EST
    Look we all know the USA.,Is as dead as dead can be, but most people just don't understand that fact yet, what is coming will make our world of political In-fighting, look like nothing, millions of people have been sent to our prisons, "we call this Nation a republic but in fact we "are nothing but an empire" AND LETS ALL FACES FACTS Soon the religious and Economic system will fall apart and on top of this the bankers are telling you this fact of life, but our you listening, "No" Bush needs what he needs and like the right and the Left who will not understand or may understand? what evil is doing will all stand around and watch the start of a Civil war and will ask why? and yes people who are nut's and homeless and jailed and all of the things people do to each other will come back to you and who are you? the people of the empire! by the way social sec, has 580 billion in it and the government has over 700 billion in I.O.U.,Out and soon we will have no money to help the poor? oh well its collapse time and lets all hear it for outsourcing millions of jobs, yes the best is yet to come, and wait until it gets here for real. 26 million felons paying into the system and not one has the right to money from that system? its call empire. but soon that will mean nothing, watch your bush.

    Re: The Disabled Fugitive Felon Project (none / 0) (#4)
    by Che's Lounge on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 09:42:31 AM EST
    So THAT'S where the deficit went! Thank goodness.

    Re: The Disabled Fugitive Felon Project (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 09:49:51 AM EST
    Hmm. Anonymous said:

    Criminals should be punished, particularly the ones who escaped responsibility before.

    But TalkLeft said:

    But records and interviews also show that the computer dragnet frequently cut off federal benefits to the sick, poor and disabled who were neither fugitives nor felons. Many lacked financial and legal resources to get their benefits restored.

    What was that recent study about us all hearing what we want to hear, and ignoring evidence to the contrary?

    Re: The Disabled Fugitive Felon Project (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 02:24:26 PM EST
    "But records and interviews also show that the computer dragnet frequently cut off federal benefits to the sick, poor and disabled who were neither fugitives nor felons." The two examples provided both seem to be either fugitives and/or felons. Nothing in the examples even comes close to claiming they did not commit the acts with which they were accused. Perhaps they hadn't been to court, but isn't that part of the definition of a fugitive?

    Re: The Disabled Fugitive Felon Project (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Feb 13, 2005 at 08:41:02 PM EST
    I agree with anonymous, the examples given were people who should have had their benefits ceased. The fact that the woman had a lung disease has NOTHING to do with the fact that she had an arrest warrant. Her claim that she did not know about it is no reason to treat her as a victim. She now gets her day in court. Now let’s look at the rest of the story. Those who loose their benefits over false or unproven allegations are truly victims but no examples of that were given. “Minor infractions” are still infractions and since the article specifically names felonies, the term “minor” is questionable, a felony is a felony. And long dormant arrest warrants are still arrest warrants. From what was given so far, I don’t see a problem.

    Re: The Disabled Fugitive Felon Project (none / 0) (#8)
    by Alan on Mon Feb 14, 2005 at 03:42:48 PM EST
    I guess the question is should we kill or harm these people just because they (may) have broken the law? If the two folks given as examples were experiencing their medical problems while they were incarcerated we would be paying for their treatments. Breaking into a car (perhaps while having mental problems) shouldn't be a death sentence. I guess many of you have no idea what it must be like to be poor, innocent, ill, and threatened by the law. I can't image it is any fun, especially at $300/hour for a good lawyer.