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The Supremes, Undocumented Immigrants and Fake SS#s

February 26th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

Interesting case. Good for the Supremes.

I’ll let the AP tell you about it:

The Supreme Court appeared poised Wednesday to rule that undocumented immigrants who use phony Social Security numbers to get work should not be considered identity thieves, even if those numbers belong to real people.

The court seemed likely to reject the government’s argument that, under a 2004 law that metes out a mandatory two-year prison term for “aggravated identity theft,” prosecutors do not have to offer any proof that a defendant knew the identification belonged to someone else and was not simply made up.

Should someone get two extra years in prison “if it just so happens that the number you picked out of the air belongs to someone else?” Chief Justice John Roberts asked Justice Department lawyer Toby Heytens…

The rest is here.

Here’s Nina Totenberg’s NPR report on the same case.

(Chapeau tip to Howard Bashman at How Appealing for the tip.)

Posted in immigration, Supreme Court | 9 Comments »

9 Responses

  1. Woody Says:

    AP and NPR along with The NYT…. Celeste, your source materials need some balance, but, rather, I expect you to add Chris Matthews next.

  2. lost ID Says:

    What if a documented citizen uses a fake social security number and fake ID, do we give him a pass as well?

  3. dacalicious Says:

    “Should someone get two extra years in prison ‘if it just so happens that the number you picked out of the air belongs to someone else?’”

    Um, yes. The person doing it knows what they’re doing. & the person with the real number who has to deal with the IRS, a state board of equalization, etc etc, is the VICTIM OF A CRIME. This business of giving illegal immigrants a knee-jerk pass to break laws designed to protect society & to which the rest of us are subject is getting really, really tiresome.

  4. WBC Says:

    The people who “just happen to have” their real SS #’s used by someone else have all the very real problems of someone dealing with ID theft — anytime the other party uses their number or tries to collect benefits it’s recorded to THEM.

    This premise is just nuts, that it’s okay to use random SS #’s which are a federally used ID to ascertain identity in everything from banking to DL to credit to passports and financial benefits due.

    By that logic someone who just doesn’t like their own number, has built up a bad credit history or owes taxes, can make up a new number at random and start over. All the better if that number belongs to someone with a hitherto (not for long) good record of their own.

  5. Mavis Beacon Says:

    Read the link before you complain, kids. You don’t get a pass for using a fake SSN. That’s a crime. He got 51 months for it. The point is that the Supremes felt the prosecutors were stretching the law here by applying the additional crime of identity theft and adding two years to the sentence. Sometimes I get the sense that if somebody advocated the electric chair for illegal immigrants as a deterrent, several of you would support it.

  6. John Moore Says:

    The point is that the Supremes felt the prosecutors were stretching the law here by applying the additional crime of identity theft and adding two years to the sentence.

    Even if that it is the intent (and I am pretty sure it is of our local, infamous Sheriff Joe Arpaio), the fact remains: the law was broken, and the penalties applu.

    If people don’t like that, change the law, don’t selectively enforce it.

  7. Glizz Says:

    It is ridiculous to argue that an undocumented immigrant who writes a made up number on a work application (which adds money to federal coffers) is the same in intent or impact as someone who steals another’s identity to apply for a credit card or withdraw funds from a bank account or even unemployment and social security. No one but xenophobes and racist ideologues argue that is hurting or ‘stealing’ from anyone.

    Immigration is inseparable from trade policy, international lending policies, and labor and human rights. Workers who migrate as an economic means of survival should not be criminalized for exercising the human right to survive, to work, & to support their family. Criminalizing migrant workers does nothing to address the problem, it only creates more of them.

  8. WBC Says:

    Glizz and to a lesser extent Mavis, are the kinds of loons on the left Celeste attracts to this site. Whether or not an illegal immigrant makes up a SS# or knowingly steals/ copies a number belonging to someone else has the same result for the victim. When someone goes to take out a bank account or loan, buy a car, anything, anything the illegal “benefactor” has done using that number reflects negatively on them; guess Glizz has never done any of these things, his kind lives in some parallel communist universe of “to each according to his needs,” screw those who follow the law. Yeah, it’s such a huge benefit all around, adding money to the coffers, and “no one but xenophobes and racist ideologues argue that is hurting or ‘stealing’ from anyone.”

    The sheer idiocy and of this claim and accusation is stunning. Where do you people learn the drivel in the second para, and how do you become so dangerously stupid? “Workers who migrate as an economic means of survival should not be criminalized for exercising the human right to survive…” In other words, countries should not have the right to any immigration laws, just throw open the borders and throw the legal residents/workers to the winds. To the extent that’s already happened, contributes significantly to California’s current economic crisis.

    That well-known racist and xenophobe Charles Gibson did a whole half-hour tonight after the regular evening news, focusing on this illegal immigration problem’s direct impact on the economy, and how California has refused to confront it (I was surprised at the directness of it):

    As the middle class legal residents have moved out of state in a net exodus, being replaced by illegal immigrants who provide the population increase in the state (along with their high birthrate), there are a lot more poor people using up resources than those willing and able to provide them. (And when those racist xenophobes get their SS#’s “accidentally” taken by one of these people, and have the nerve to bitch about this ID theft, and likely credit fiascos, somehow the tremendous “benefits” elude them.)

    I’d like to think no one could be as idiotic as Glizz and this is some sort of parody of the seriously stupid, but I’m afraid he or she IS for real, what we’re left with as normal, sane, productive people hightail it out of state.

  9. Kystall Says:

    Large institutions like LAUSD hire undocumented workers.
    Now LAUSD is cutting jobs. Many Americans are going to receive pink slips – while undocumented workers continue to work. I know some of these undocumented workers and I’ve never had a problem with them. Now that Americans are suffering, lousing their jobs, their homes, and unable to keep food on the table. It’s time to speak up; before any-more American citizens louse their job with LAUSD. It’s unthinkable that our state would turn it’s back on it’s own citizens for people who aren’t legally living and working here.

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