This Backgrounder examines illegal immigration-related document fraud and identity theft that is committed primarily for the purpose of employment. It debunks three common misconceptions: illegal aliens are “undocumented;” the transgressions committed by illegal aliens to obtain jobs are minor; and illegal-alien document fraud and identity theft are victimless crimes. It discusses how some community leaders rationalize these crimes, contributing to a deterioration of the respect for laws in our nation, and presents a variety of remedies, including more widespread electronic verification of work status (E-Verify and the Social Security Number Verification Service) and immigrant outreach programs to explain the ramifications and risks of document fraud and identity theft.
The findings include:
- Illegal immigrants are not “undocumented.” They have fraudulent documents such as counterfeit Social Security cards, forged drivers licenses, fake “green cards,” and phony birth certificates. Experts suggest that approximately 75 percent of working-age illegal aliens use fraudulent Social Security cards to obtain employment.
- Most (98 percent) Social Security number (SSN) thieves use their own names with stolen numbers. The federal E-Verify program, now mandated in only 14 states, can detect this fraud. Universal, mandatory use of E-Verify would curb this and stop virtually 100 percent of child identity theft.
- Illegal immigration and high levels of identity theft go hand-in-hand. States with the most illegal immigration also have high levels of job-related identity theft. In Arizona, 33 percent or all identity theft is job-related (as opposed to identity theft motivated simply by profit). In Texas it is 27 percent; in New Mexico, 23 percent; in Colorado, 22 percent; California, 20 percent; and in Nevada, 16 percent. Eight of the 10 states with the highest percentage of illegal aliens in their total population are among the top 10 states in identity theft (Arizona, California, Florida, Texas, Nevada, New York, Georgia, and Colorado).
- Children are prime targets. In Arizona, it is estimated that over one million children are victims of identity theft. In Utah, 1,626 companies were found to be paying wages to the SSNs of children on public assistance under the age of 13. These individuals suffer very real and very serious consequences in their lives.
- Illegal aliens commit felonies in order to get jobs. Illegal aliens who use fraudulent documents, perjure themselves on I-9 forms, and commit identity theft in order to get jobs are committing serious offenses and are not “law abiding.”
- Illegally employed aliens send billions of dollars annually to their home countries, rather than spending it in the United States and helping stimulate the American economy. In October 2008 alone, $2.4 billion was transferred to Mexico.
- Tolerance of corruption erodes the rule of law. Corruption is a serious problem in most illegal aliens’ home countries. Allowing it to flourish here paves the way for additional criminal activity and increased corruption throughout society.
- also see:
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