A chill went through the immigrant community this last week as the Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency (ICE) made national news after agents arrested more than 1,000 undocumented aliens at more than 12 work site locations. These systematic raids were carried out over many states as a result of information obtained by ICE officials regarding the use of false social security numbers.
ICE spokesman announced that the Social Security Administration office had written to the owners of the subject corporation thirteen times complaining that over a thousand employees were using faulty social security numbers. When nothing was done to correct the problem the company was referred to ICE.
A subsequent government investigation of the company found that managers had induced many undocumented aliens to work at the company, even telling them to "just make up a number for your social." Other arrested employees told of company officials who did not ask for documentation prior to employment. An ICE official stated that the social security numbers when checked against the system database found that employees were using the numbers of people who were dead, of children or just different individuals.
This raid appears to be the harbinger of things to come and pinoys in this type of situation must be careful not to fall into the same trap. After the raids ICE, Homeland Security and Department of Justice officials stated that in the next few weeks announcements were forthcoming on tougher steps immigration officials would employ for internal enforcement of the nations immigration laws.
It appears that most of the new enforcement provisions will be aimed at punishing employers who knowingly participate in the employment of undocumented aliens, aliens using false social security numbers. Previously, after a raid by Immigration official's employers would receive small fines and the undocumented employee would be put in deportation proceedings. After this raid it appears the government will continue to put the employee in deportation but now the employer may face criminal charges where the violations are this egregious.
An examination of this case reveals some important aspects of work site enforcement. When an employer hires a new employee certain documentation must be submitted to show employment eligibility. Where an employer states that no such documentation is necessary the employee should be skeptical.
As for making up a social security number or purchasing one on the black market, this case is very telling. When employers submit that false social security number to the SS administration for withholding purposes the name that accompanies the number is checked against a national database. When the name and the number do not match the social security official will notify the employer of the problem and ask that the number be verified for accuracy. Employers with chronic problems of false social security numbers and rejects face a similar fate as the company subjected to this raid. Employees who submit false numbers likely will be caught with their employers and subject to removal.
If you or someone you know is currently going through this type of problem where they are forced to use the social security number of another just so they can feed their family and take care of their obligations, have them seek out a competent immigration lawyer.
There may be paths or programs that can legalize their status now or the lawyer may know programs in the not too distant future that might bring legal status. Immigration is at the forefront of our national conscience and change is coming. See an immigration lawyer now to find out how you can benefit.