Why Do Illegal Workers Have Valid SSNs?
One criticism of the government’s E-Verify system is that it is flawed by the fact that many illegal workers are verified by the system as eligible to work. That is not, of course, an argument against the expansion of E-Verify from its current status as a temporary voluntary system to a mandatory requirement for all employers as proposed in H.R. 1772. There is no logic to saying that because some illegal workers are not denied jobs there should be no effort at all to deny jobs to illegal workers.Instead, the recognition that there is a ‘false positive’ problem in the implementation of the E-Verify system should lead to a focus on what can be done to lessen the problem.False employment approvals by the E-Verify system result when the name and date of birth of the new hire match the information in the Social Security database recorded when the SSN was issued. That match-up, however, does not necessarily mean that person is legally entitled to work at the time the E-Verify system is accessed. Here are some of the reasons:
- At one time, all that was necessary for the SSA to issue an SSN was a letter from a state DMV stating that a driver’s license applicant needed an SSN in order to be able to obtain a D/L. That practice was discontinued, but not until probably millions of illegal aliens received legitimate SSNs.
- Foreign students are entitled to take campus jobs and summer jobs, and that requires that they have an SSN. They also are eligible to take Optional Practical Training jobs. They then may illegally apply for a full-time job and satisfy the E-Verify check with the SSN that they were issued.
- There is a black market in stolen SSNs for sale to illegal aliens seeking a job where an employer uses the current E-Verify system. There was a recent study that found 6.5 million persons with valid SSNs over age 112. Nearly 70,000 of them reported wages to the SSA between 2006 and 2011. It is a safe bet that all of those cases resulted from the fraudulent use for employment of the SSN of someone deceased. Most likely the fraudulent use was by an illegal worker.
- Illegal aliens given Temporary Protected Status are given SSNs. So are DACA status recipients. Those who lose legal protection still have the SSN.
These circumstances indicate the need to have temporary SSNs for any applicant who is not a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. The time limit should coincide with the period for which a job is authorized. Similarly, the SSA needs to eliminate the SSNs of deceased persons from the list of work authorized individuals. Finally, there needs to be some aggressive prosecution of persons stealing SSNs. That is a crime and there are victims, and as long as the crime is ignored, the practice will proliferate.