Social Security Number Black Market Thriving for Illegal Aliens
By Heather Ham-Warren | September 14, 2018
Last week, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) revealed massive identity fraud by illegal aliens in the United States, potentially affecting nearly 40 million Americans.
In April of this year, IRLI filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Social Security Administration (SSA) seeking records related to the Obama-era decision to halt sending “no-match” letters to employers. According to the Justice Department’s website, a “no-match” letter is a “written notice issued by the SSA to an employer, usually in response to an employee wage report, advising that the name or Social Security number (SSN) reported by the employer for one or more employees does not “match” a name or SSN combination reflected in SSA’s records.” The long-held practice of sending the letters had been used to prevent fraud through the use of stolen SSN data by illegal aliens and other criminals.
Days after former President Obama implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty program, his administration announced the decision to stop sending “no-match” letters to employers. This decision led to a thriving SSN black market where illegal aliens are drawn to obtain an American’s information for employment. The SSN of children have proven to be especially valuable as they can be used undetected for years. However, when these children reach adulthood and begin to apply for college, car loans, credit cards, or other needs, many learn they have criminal records attached to their identities.
Specifically, IRLI’s investigation uncovered that from 2012 to 2016, there were a whopping 39 million instances where names and SSNs on W-2 tax forms did not match the legitimate Social Security records. Additionally, over $409 billion was added to the Earnings Suspense File (ESF), which holds any uncredited wages that cannot be correctly matched in the SSA’s database.
Previously, the SSA has estimated that seventy-five percent of illegal aliens possess a SSN— either one stolen from an American citizen, or legal resident, or one that has been made up entirely. Not only is this practice troublesome from an immigration law standpoint, but can actually be quite problematic for Americans, or legal residents, who have their SSNs stolen. In addition to receiving Internal Revenue Service (IRS) letters and audits accusing them of having income they are not claiming or having their benefits blocked, reconciling a compromised identifier is estimated to cost thousands of dollars and take years of effort.
The Trump administration did announce this summer that it would begin resuming notice letters to employers and third-part providers informing them of any mismatches. However, it is truly up to Congress to rectify this situation for all parties involved.
In July, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduced the bipartisan AG and Legal Workforce Act (H.R. 6417) – legislation that would mandate E-Verify, the effective web-based program that ensures a legal workforce. Furthermore, the legislation would protect against identity theft by requiring the Social Security Commissioner to notify individuals whose SSN demonstrates a pattern of unusual use; as well as assist Americans who believe their identity may have been stolen or used fraudulently.
Congress is required to protect American citizens and their interests above all else. It would be shrewd for them to remember that before the November midterms.