Last month’s story where it was revealed that the CA gubernatorial candidate (Meg Whitman) had employed an illegal immigrant (Nicky Diaz), brought up many questions in the media.  What was Meg Whitman’s knowledge of employee’s immigrant status?  Was this a Jerry Brown, Democratic Party dirty trick?  Would Nicky Diaz be deported?  I have been waiting for a story on the most important question… “What is Social Security doing to aide illegal immigration and why?” 

The public perception of illegal immigrants is one of people being paid on a cash basis, and employers fully aware that they are employing illegal aliens.  The spectacle of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raiding a business to catch these lawbreakers hits newspapers and television broadcasts periodically to help fuel this perception.  This may have been the majority of illegals’ in our workforce at one time, but it is impractical to think this is how 12 million or more illegal immigrants work in this country.  I believe that people would be surprised to know that there is a government agency that has perhaps the greatest resource of information about illegal aliens, and purposefully withholds this information from ICE.  In fact, it prohibits employers from acting on information that can lead to the discovery of illegal immigrants working for them.  This agency is the Social Security Administration. 

The information I am referring to is expressed through what is known as the “no match” letter, which is sent out to over 9 million people per year.  It is a document sent to employees (often through their employer), which informs them that their SS# does not match their name in the SSA database.  Often these “no-match” letters can be explained as a data entry error, or a name change (such as marriage).  However, when the error is not corrected under one of these scenarios, it should be an important indicator that the individual is working in the country illegally.  In the Nicky Diaz situation, a “no match” letter was sent in 2003 with apparently no further action for 6 years. 

Normally I would attribute this to the typical government agency incompetence.  There may be something deeper involved if you walk through how blowing the whistle on these individuals creates a problem for Social Security.  If SSA doesn’t resolve this problem of the mismatched information, who do they attribute the payment to?  I contend that they must not be able to attribute this money to any legitimate beneficiary.  Hmmm… I think we are getting to the reason there is a lack of motivation on Social Security’s part to solve this problem.  How large is the fund at Social Security that will never be paid to any beneficiary?  I will let you ponder that one. 

Regardless of motivation, this issue is easily resolved with a few simple steps for a Congress willing to take illegal immigration seriously. 

1. Update the Social Security Card.  There have been 50 cards issued since its inception, and all are still valid (and easily forgeable).  Security similar to the US passport or any State Drivers License should suffice. 

2. Inform Employers that if their employee “no match” issue is not resolved within 90 days, there will be a $1000 per day fine payable for that employee until the issue is resolved. 

3. Unresolved issues must be forwarded on to ICE for further investigation, since an issue left unresolved is likely to be an illegal immigrant.

4. Make it illegal to sue any employer that terminates for the employee not resolving the “no match” letter.

It seems clear that the government agency that could raise the red flag on this issue has no interest in its resolution.  If we truly wish to solve the problem of illegal immigration, these simple changes would be a great place to start.

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