As U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly, R-Simi Valley, winds down his 26-year political career, he is apparently making a last-ditch effort to push his E-Verify program, a system that allows employers to validate their employees’ social security numbers to avoid fraud and identity theft. In an opinion piece posted on thehill.com, a congressoinal blog, Gallegly points out the havoc wreaked on innocent children when undocumented workers fraudulently use their social security numbers for employment as well as for racking up bills while trashing credit scores.
“Illegal immigrant workers not only take jobs from American workers, they also damage the future of millions of American children through fraud and identity theft.
“It’s an issue that will not go away if our southern border is sealed or Mexican citizens decide the United States is no longer a desirable destination, as a recent Pew Hispanic Center study suggests.”
Trying to drive the fear of what illegal immigrants represent to American society, he glosses over the facts of the study, including that immigration from Mexico and the number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. are on the downward trend, and more immigrants are returning to Mexico.
“During the five-year period from 2005 to 2010, a total of 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the United States, down by more than half from the 3 million who had done so in the five-year period of 1995 to 2000,” states the report. “Meantime, the number of Mexicans and their children who moved from the U.S. to Mexico between 2005 and 2010 rose to 1.4 million, roughly double the number who had done so in the five-year period a decade before.”
It continues: “As of 2011, some 6.1 million unauthorized Mexican immigrants were living in the U.S., down from a peak of nearly 7 million in 2007, according to Pew Hispanic Center estimates based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Over the same period, the population of authorized immigrants from Mexico rose modestly, from 5.6 million in 2007 to 5.8 million in 2011.”
Furthermore, Gallegly writes about the hardships that a handful of children and parents have experienced because of stolen social security numbers — placing the blame solely on illegal immigrants. But the Identity Theft Assistance Center recently reported that identity theft spans the gamut, with employee fraud making up a small percentage of all cases. It reported that 28 percent of identity theft is committed by a person the victim knows, followed by computer-related identity crime at 21.6 percent; lost/stolen wallets, checkbooks or credit cards account for 15.1 percent, corrupt businesses or employees also at 11.6 percent; and breaches of consumer data accounted for 4.7 percent of the cases. Of the 11.6 percent that makes up for employment-related identity theft, there is no evidence that shows illegal immigrants are the only ones committing that crime.
Though illegal immigrants have taken the brunt of the blame for America’s downfall, the facts show otherwise. Undoubtedly, immigration reform is needed — there is no justification for stealing anyone’s identity for any reason. But harping on all the bad that illegal immigrants have done while ignoring the broader issue of identity theft in general, as well as not focusing on progressive solutions of amnesty for those who have been contributing to society for decades, isn’t fixing anything. Rather, it is building hostility and moving America backward. It’s easy enough place blame and perpetuate the culture of fear, but that hasn’t worked in resolving the problem. Now is the time to move away from tried-and-failed methods.