Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
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Issue about immigrant's Social Security number subject of suit

While the legal status of immigrants in California is better than it was in the past, there is still room for improvement. One 34-year-old immigrant claims a question asked of applicants applying for state correctional-officer positions is discriminatory in that it unfairly targets Latinos.

The question asked of applicants is whether they have ever used a different Social Security number in the past.  This person has answered the question in the affirmative on two separate occasions.  This individual was apparently brought across the border in 1991 when he was only 11-years-old.  He was provided with a Social Security number when he was 15.  However, he did not know that he was considered undocumented at the time and that the Social Security number was not actually his.

A number of unexpected consequences then arose.  This individual paid taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number by the Internal Revenue Service until he became a legal permanent resident.  When this occurred, he then received his own Social Security number.  He also became a U.S. citizen in 2010.

He was able to pass applicable test that would have allowed him to become a correctional officer.  Still, on two occasions his application was denied.  He was said to have appealed the first denial to the State Personal Board.  Upon the second denial, he then filed his lawsuit.

A California law is currently in place that would narrow the ability of governmental to make inquiries about a job candidate’s criminal conviction record.   This law was put in place out of discrimination concerns.  The attorney for this immigrant argues that the question asking about the Social Security number also discriminates against Latinos in that it could bar them from employment.

We will await the outcome of this lawsuit.  We also will have to wait and see if California legislators are willing to take this immigration matter up as well.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "The State Worker: Lawsuit raises question for California immigration reform," Jon Ortiz, Dec. 12, 2013

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