Supreme Court Ruling: ID Theft Law Can’t Be Used against Illegal Immigrants

I’ve talked about this subject before: Are illegal immigrants who use stolen and forged identification documents also identity thieves? The unanimous answer of “no” came down from the Supreme Court on Monday. Unless illegal immigrants know that the Social Security numbers and other identifying documents they give to an employer actually belong to a real person, the immigrants cannot be charged with aggravated identity theft (which would add an extra two years of jail time to their sentence).

The National Immigrant Justice Center’s Chuck Roth says, “An immigrant who uses a false Social Security number to get a job doesn’t intend to harm anyone, and it makes no sense to spend our tax dollars to imprison them for two years.”

Not wasting tax dollars is something I wholeheartedly agree with, but using someone else’s Social Security number to apply for a job can cause an enormous amount of pain and hassle for the true owner of the SSN. Screwed up tax returns and incorrect Social Security benefits can be a nightmare to clear up. A minor might not realize their SSN has been compromised until they go to apply for a first credit card or loan, years after the damage has been done.

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The defendant in this case, Mr. Flores-Figueroa, will probably be deported after serving his illegal immigration sentence.

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