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Rule of Law Disregarded in Cases of Immigrant Identity Theft

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Posted on December 2 2010 11:00 am

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In yet another example of the rule of law being cast aside whenever it suits our courts, identity theft appears to be acceptable if you are one of those hard working pillars of society known as the “undocumented immigrant.” Now if you or I tried it, there would be a serious problem, but in today’s justice system, judges seem to be interpreting law based on their personal feelings and ideology.

An example of this development comes from a Supreme Court decision (May 2009), where they decided the defendant was ignorant to what he was doing:

The U.S. Supreme Court decision was unanimous. In it, the justices found that an immigrant using an unknown person’s SSN to obtain work authorization did not “knowingly” use information that belonged to another person, as required by the statute.

The suspect in the case, Ignacio Flores-Figueroa, presented a Social Security card with his name but a false SSN — the number turned out to belong to a minor — so he could work at a steel plant in East Moline, Ill. He was convicted of immigration offenses and aggravated identity theft and given a 75-month jail sentence, including a two-year enhancement for the federal ID theft charge. His success in the Supreme Court reduced his sentence by 24 months. He is still subject to deportation when he finishes serving his time.

A recent case in Colorado came to the same conclusion:

The most recent judicial body to take on the issue, the Colorado Supreme Court, ruled last month that a man who used his real name but someone else’s Social Security number to obtain a car loan was not guilty of “criminal impersonation,” overturning convictions by lower courts.

Once again, legal citizens of this country are giving up their rights and protections in the interest of the “undocumented immigrant.” We are to believe that these hard working innocents have no idea that they might be using someone else’s number, and it has all just been a terrible mistake. We surely cannot enforce the law in such a circumstance, can we?

Of course, using that logic, anyone at any time could use someone’s Social Security number and claim ignorance. How will a judge decide who is worthy of his/her personal compassion? Does a judge have the right to decide when to apply the law in any case?

Let’s take a look at how this type of ruling affects the legitimate owners of those SS numbers. One woman has found that it harmed her ability to get a job, travel, and even involved her in a felony charge:

What started as a hassle turned into a major headache earlier this year when she sought work through a temporary agency that learned her Social Security number had been used by a woman in Texas two years earlier. The agency could not hire Schmierer for more than a month while the situation was clarified.

‘How do you prove that you are you?” Schmierer said. “It’s like you are guilty until proven innocent.’

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