Sunday, August 05, 2007

Will Social Security number verification slow down illegal immigration?

Employers will soon have to take action against employees, who have a Social Security number that doesn't exist, or doesn't match the name associated with it. In the past, they were able to ignore the fact that these types of discrepancies existed.

With statistics showing that employee fraud and abuse cost corporations billions of dollars, it's amazing that employers would ignore that the person they have working for them might not be, who they claim they are.

DHS (Department of Homeland Security) has already provided a SSN validator for employers to use, which shows, whether or not the number was ever issued. The problem is that it doesn't show who the number belongs to.

As I blogged in a earlier post, this has led to more and more cases of illegal immigrants stealing real people's numbers to maintain their employment. The posts also explains how employers could already be doing more to verify, who their employees really are.

Over the weekend, the issue hit the news again.

Suzanne Gamboa and Anabelle Garay of the AP report:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Employers across the country may have to fire workers with questionable Social Security numbers to avoid getting snagged in a Bush administration crackdown on illegal immigrants.

The Department of Homeland Security is expected to make public soon new rules for employers notified when a worker's name or Social Security number is flagged by the Social Security Administration.

The rule as drafted requires employers to fire people who can't be verified as a legal worker and can't resolve within 60 days why the name or Social Security number on their W-2 doesn't match the government's database.

Employers who don't comply could face fines of $250 to $10,000 per illegal worker and incident.

AP story, here.

We've already seen an increase in stories -- where someone goes to file their taxes, or find another job only to discover their Social Security number has been being used -- sometimes by more than one person.

Recently, the story of a financial crimes detective, Adrian Flores, who had his identity stolen was covered in the LA Times. It appears that more than one person used Detective Flores' number. Before he cleared his name, he went through a lot of grief from various private and government agencies, including the IRS.

What scared me the most about Detective Flores' story was that he is obviously of Hispanic descent. Does that mean that citizens with Hispanic surnames are going to be victimized because their names will be more considered more desirable?

This is a whole new take on the sometimes sensitive issue of "profiling."

Bob Sullivan (MSNBC) blogged about this issue extensively at the Red Tape Chronicles, here.

During the aftermath of the controversy surrounding the immigration bill -- Lou Dobbs interviewed Suad Leija, the stepdaughter of one of the main players in a organized crime family producing counterfeit documents -- who is assisting federal authorities in identifying members of the cartel. Suad aptly pointed out to Lou that if the bill passed, the counterfeit cartel's business would have exploded because dates could be fixed to reflect whatever date qualified a person for amnesty.

Could the same groups be preparing to provide their own version of Real ID to the millions of people illegally living in this country?

According to Suad, the fake documents are as "good as anything you have in your pocket."

If you go to Suad's Paper Weapons

Suad's interview with Lou, here.

Exactly, how the rules will change remains to be seen. What worries me is the organized crime machine behind providing the documents and identities always seem to stay one step ahead of the authorities.

Getting stolen identities shouldn't present too much of a challenge to the groups counterfeiting documents. There already is an underground market selling this information, also.

This could translate into more people having their identities abused than ever before.

As long as the consequences for stealing identities are viewed as a not very serious crime, the problem will continue.

There are no easy answers to this problem -- but perhaps if there were harsher consequences for counterfeiting, the use of counterfeit documents and stealing identities -- the problem would be easier to deal with.

As long as employers are taking advantage of cheap labor, which is the reason most of these people are coming here, the solution isn't going to be an easy one.

We have to ask ourselves at what cost will this be allowed to continue?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

IntegraScreen opens new office in Pakistan

Karachi, 25 June 2007: The IntegraScreen Group today announced the opening of its new office in Pakistan.

Located in Karachi, it will be headed by Danish Thanvi, a Certified Fraud Examiner, who joins the company as General Manager. Prior to joining IntegraScreen in twelve years of experience Danish has been involved in numerous forensic and investigative assignments throughout Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

“It’s a great time to be joining IntegraScreen” said Thanvi, “and I feel truly fortunate to be joining the global team of this immensely innovative company.”

IntegraScreen has undergone rapid growth during the last few years and now has thirteen offices in ten countries worldwide. In addition, to Singapore and the United States the company operates out of Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, India, Dubai, Jordan and Panama.

The Pakistan office will further strengthen the company’s document verification and immigration screening capabilities as well as acting as an operational base for the company in this important emerging market.

Speaking on its opening, Managing Director John Baxter said, “We are thrilled to announce the opening of our new office in Pakistan and look forward to being able to provide enhanced services focused on the Pakistan market to multinational and governmental clients.”

Danish Thanvi can be reached at

About IntegraScreen

IntegraScreen provides international due diligence services, immigration screening and risk data to corporations and governments. Established in 2000 and headquartered in Singapore, we employ more than 300 researchers in 15 locations around the world. Our team members speak more than 60 languages and specialize in emerging markets such as China, India, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Our services and data products are used for business risk management, immigration screening and compliance with the Sarbanes Oxley Act, anti-money laundering regulations, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the USA Patriot Act.