Editor’s note: When it comes to immigration — illegal or otherwise — the American people have a right to be concerned. Each week, Liberty Nation author Kelli Ballard examines a contentious issue related to today’s hottest topic.
Affecting millions of Americans across the nation, identity theft is a growing crime with a new victim every two seconds. This relates mostly to online and cyber crimes. But what about when illegal immigrants steal a U.S. citizen’s Social Security number to provide work verification? Although federal law seems to prohibit states from prosecuting undocumented aliens for using false information on employment forms, the Supreme Court has just ruled against that, allowing states to prosecute individuals who commit such identity theft.
Immigration laws fall under federal jurisdiction. However, the justices have overturned the 2017 Kansas v. Garcia decision regarding the state’s actions to prosecute three illegal immigrants who used Social Security numbers not belonging to them on their I-9 and tax-withholding forms for employment purposes. The three restaurant workers were convicted, but the convictions were voided by the Kansas Supreme Court, which ruled the charges were inappropriate because “[t]he fact that this information was included in the W-4 and K-4 did not alter the fact that it was also part of the I-9.” On March 3, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act did not prevent states from prosecuting those who use false or stolen identification, regardless of their immigration status.
Why does this matter? Finally, if they choose, states can go after illegal aliens who steal American citizens’ identities, a longstanding problem. In 2018, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) complained about this infraction, relating it to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the thousands of Dreamers using identification not belonging to them. The organization referenced a George Soros-funded open-borders law firm, the National Immigration Law Center, and a letter it sent to its clients:
“Are you (or your clients) waiting to apply for DACA because you’ve used a Social Security Number (SSN) that was not yours?… Helpful new guidance from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may answer your questions.”
IRLI said that the Social Security Administration (SSA) estimated that three out of four illegal aliens possess a Social Security number, but how is that possible when only U.S. citizens are afforded that document? It also noted that children are 51 times more likely to be a victim of this type of identity theft because it will be some time before they apply for credit cards, leaving the thieves free to use the identity for years without worry.
The U.S. Department of Justice released a statement in November 2019, after a Mississippi State worksite enforcement action was conducted in August of that year, and a record 680 illegal workers were detained, and 119 were prosecuted for stealing American identities. U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst used a press release to explain the dangers and harm caused by those who steal IDs.
“Americans have been directly harmed by the theft of their identities, resulting in citizens not being able to get loans or credit cards, obtain health insurance, and perform other basic activities. Every single one of the 680 aliens arrested in August broke our nation’s laws by coming to our country illegally. Turning a blind eye to their illegal acts would not be fair to our nation, their victims, or the millions of naturalized American citizens who waited years and meticulously followed the process by which to become an American.”
Ronald W. Mortensen, a Fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies, puts blame on government agencies, such as the SSA and the IRS, saying:
“The Social Security Administration and Internal Revenue Service facilitate illegal immigrant-driven identity theft. Both turn a blind eye to massive SSN fraud and take no action to stop it. The Social Security Administration assigns SSNs to new-born infants that are being used illegally. The IRS demands that victims pay taxes on wages earned by illegal aliens using their stolen SSNs, while taking no action to stop the identity theft.”
Victims of identity theft can spend years and thousands of dollars getting matters rectified. Perhaps now that states are aware that they can prosecute immigrants using false identification, more justice will be meted out to satisfy sufferers. However, don’t hold your breath that sanctuary states — areas where illegals seem to have more protections than citizens — will take action.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.