Amnesty Advocates Enable Social Security, Identity Fraud, Overwhelmingly Hurting Children

Ian Smith Immigration Reform Law Institute
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Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas District Court slapped down the Obama DOJ last week, ruling that his February 16 injunction order would stay in place pending a full hearing on the merits. DOJ’s attempt to convince the judge that the injunction was “disruptive to national security” had indeed been pretty weak. When he questioned the need for the DAPA program to dole out work permits to illegal aliens on top of providing amnesty, he was told it was necessary in order to “incentivize” the aliens to “come out and identify themselves.”

DOJ’s poor showing, along with misrepresentations they’d made earlier to the court that no DACA applications would be processed during the injunction actually “reinforced” the judge’s original decision to halt the program, according to this latest order.

Still, there is some truth to the DOJ’s assertion that mere deportation deferrals may not be enough to get illegal aliens to “come out of the shadows” and register for DACA and DAPA. The Obama administration appears to sincerely believe this, having promised to waive application fees for DACA and DAPA applicants, in effect subsidizing the program with fees from legal applicants. Then there’s the Earned Income Tax Credit refunds that beneficiaries will be entitled to receive if they sign up.

It may be that Obama knows what immigration enforcement advocates have known for some time: Most illegal aliens are not in the shadows and are actually already in the system. Just illegally so.

Being economic migrants who’ve come here solely to earn more money (even if America’s standard of living halves, it’d still be far higher than Mexico’s), the most important document for illegal aliens is a Social Security number. Without it, it makes fulfilling the requirements of an I-9 form, and hence securing employment, more difficult (but certainly not impossible).

Although SSNs by law are only available to those authorized to receive them (e.g. citizens, legal aliens), the Social Security Administration estimates a whopping 75 percent of illegal aliens already have them. The numbers are simply fake or stolen. The administration’s “in the shadows” chorus then may just be a fiction. As would their phrase, “undocumented immigrants”, which should really be “illegally documented immigrants” if accuracy was a main concern.

Illegal aliens break dozens of laws (including felonies) when they cross our border, settle in the interior and find employment — see a survey of those violations from Jon Feere at the Center for Immigration Studies here — But Social Security fraud is probably the most damaging. Taking someone’s SSN can create a nightmare to the person it rightly belongs to. An NBC report profiling one such victim found she was haunted by bills and creditors, received threatening letters from the IRS asking her to pay taxes on money earned by the fraudsters, and was told to re-pay unemployment benefits after they discovered she was “working” when she received the benefits.

What’s worse is that the victims are overwhelmingly children. Sellers of fraudulent documents prefer children’s numbers because children don’t use them for employment or credit applications, allowing the crime to go unnoticed for years. As a result, university researchers have found that children are 51 times more likely to be the victims of identity fraud. As former State Department official, Ronald Mortensen, said about the problem in congressional testimony, “a child may begin life with a wage history, bad credit, income tax liabilities, and an arrest record.” Only when the children grow up or when their parents apply for benefits on their behalf is the crime discovered.

Although the problem is little studied, Utah looked at the issue closely and the results have been striking. In 2005, an investigation found around 50,000 children within the state had been victimized by identity fraud. Newer studies have found up to three-quarters of all discovered-identity fraud cases involved SSNs stolen from children. Accordingly, Mortensen told the congressional panel the solution to this problem should be seen as a “childhood protection measure.”

Along with enforcing our immigration laws, that solution is mandatory e-Verify. This online employment verification system requires employers to input a new hire’s personal information on a federal or state-based database. If there’s a mismatch between the person’s name, date of birth and SSN, the new hire gets a failing grade. According to Mortensen, this would stop 100 percent of all child identity theft.

Utah enacted an e-Verify law in 2010. Although they strangely refused to include in the law penalty provisions for non-compliance, the number of children on public assistance who had another person’s wages reported on their SSN halved in the first year it was initiated. These findings were confirmed by the Federal Trade Commission and were closely replicated by Arizona when they instituted e-Verify.

In this Congress, we’ve already seen two bills providing for an e-Verify program introduced in the House: one by Lamar Smith from Texas (which has already left committee) and the other from Iowan dynamo Steve King. Both bills should be viewed as family and child-protection measures. The program is also cheap, proven to be effective, and it’s wildly popular among voters.

Of course, under Obama, when illegal aliens registering under DAPA or DACA are found to have been using a child’s SSN, the crime and pain borne on American families will likely be ignored. This was seen recently when California’s DMV, in following that state’s new law allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses, directed employees to overlook identity theft by any applicants “who may have attempted to obtain or been issued a license or ID card previously through submission of false information” — the Immigration Reform Law Institute is currently battling with their office in order to get the full details of the policy.

The current situation makes the phrase “anarcho-tyranny” look good by comparison. Instead of the state merely controlling the innocent rather than the real criminals in society (the true meaning of the term), the state refuses to control the criminals and actually hurts the innocent.