Despite the media and amnesty proponents on both sides of the aisle declaring illegal immigrants don’t commit crimes, a recent report from CNS News should shut down the amnesty debate. After reviewing several Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) reports, CNS found the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) routinely ignores massive numbers of possible identity theft. According to the report, there were 1.2 million cases in 2017 in which illegal aliens filed tax returns using Social Security Numbers (SSN).
Why are the IRS and Congress ignoring a problem costing American citizens billions of dollars and countless years to fix?
This is not the typical identity theft most people think of, but employment identity theft. Employment identity theft is when someone uses another person’s identity to get a job. The IRS can identify the theft through the ITIN/SSN mismatch process. The process detects instances in which an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is listed as either the primary or secondary Taxpayer Identification Number on form 1040, and the Form W-2, included with the return has an SSN.
What is most infuriating about the recent report is the lack of enforcement of federal law. The IRS found 1.3 million cases of employment-related identity theft between 2011 and 2016. But in the same time frame, the IRS made 20,986 prosecution recommendations with only 4,329 being recommended for identity theft.
The list of crimes being committed by the millions of illegal immigrants is numerous:
- 18 U.S. Code 1028 – Fraud and related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information (identity theft)
- 18 U.S. Code 1341 – Frauds and swindles (mail fraud)
- 18 U.S. Code 1343 – Fraud by wire, radio, or television (wire fraud)
- 18 U.S. Code 371 – Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States (conspiracy)
Every day American citizens are investigated, charged, and convicted of these crimes. Why should illegal immigrants be any different?
What no one on Capitol Hill or the media is talking about, is the damage a stolen identity can do to a person. It may not seem like much to use someone else’s identity to get a job, but it can take years to get the official records corrected. Home loans are denied, interest rates rise, and jobs are denied when there is an identity theft problem. It is hard to find someone that has not been impacted by identity theft, including myself:
Several years ago, a friend of mine separated from the military. He and I were training for a contracting job with the State Department. After training, as we were getting ready to deploy, he was told he could not go because an update to his security clearance, which he previously possessed, found someone had stolen his identity. This honorably discharged Marine Scout Sniper was being denied a job because someone stole his identity. That’s how serious stolen identities are.
A stolen identity can ruin a person’s life. Why is Congress trying to grant amnesty to people hurting American citizens?
The first thing that should happen is the IRS must make criminal referrals to the Justice Department for cases of identity theft. The DOJ must then move to prosecute and deport any illegal immigrants that committed identity fraud. This cannot continue, the lack of punishment for committing multiple felonies only invites more lawlessness.
Congress must also act. It must move to pass E-Verify. E-Verify will ensure illegal immigrants cannot be hired. The ITIN program must also be abolished. The program is filled with fraud and abuse costing taxpayers billions a year in improper payments. This must be done before any agreement is worked out on the DACA program or amnesty for Dreamers. Before any deal is done, Congress must demand an audit of potential DACA recipients and Dreamers to find out who amongst the group committed identity theft. Congress cannot reward identity theft with a green card.
Congress and the federal government need to show the American people they matter.
Printus LeBlanc is a contributing editor at Americans for Limited Government.