Grassi: Stolen Nation Harbors Den of Thieves
By Diane M. Grassi
If you think that all of the brouhaha about illegal immigration only concerns the powers-that-be in Washington, D.C., think again. Non-enforced immigration law is portrayed beyond the beltway as no more than political shenanigans to curry favor with specific voting blocks and an effort to deflate wages. But inaction by a head-in-the-sand style government has created a new type of terrorism for the American people.
Since September 11, 2001 we have had to deal with not only the tragedy of terrorist attacks on our own soil but the aftermath of our government creating additional bureaucracies all in the name of security. All the while the black market remains strong with respect to counterfeit as well as stolen Social Security numbers and Green Cards being sold to illegal aliens upon entry to the United States. With an immigration policy in limbo and immigration laws largely arbitrarily enforced if at all, thieves and law breakers on behalf of people who should not legally be in the U.S. in the first place, are miles ahead of the behemoth U.S. government, always quick to create new agencies, with little thought given to their operations or funding.
Prior to 9/11 we as citizens and legal residents of the U.S. were already forced to deal with a wrath of criminal activity to which we lay victims, with a large portion of it stemming from the sophistication of computer technology and the growth of personal use of the internet. Identity theft and tax evasion had already reached astronomical proportions. But add to that the black market documentation theft rings at the behest of illegal aliens, who have but disdain for the word legal, we now have found ourselves in dire straights as personal identities are being stolen with no mechanism or political will to put a stop to it. As a result of their blind ignorance our elected officials could never have imagined that the Social Security administration would be shaken down by a different kind of terrorist, leaving individuals no protection and fending for themselves. But it continues to happen every day with ramifications which can haunt victims until they die.
We are no longer describing something as “simple” as fraud as the result of a stolen bank account or a line of credit due to theft of a Social Security number. That is nightmarish enough. But the Social Security card shark rings festering in the illegal alien community have given new meaning to the term “identity theft” which neither the Social Security Administration, the Internal Revenue Service or the Federal Trade Commission have any intention of investigating in an effort to correct such a critical problem. After all, the newly created Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and the most recently created cabinet post of Director of Central Intelligence provide more than ample opportunity to plant blame.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans unknowingly have leant illegal aliens their Social Security numbers with the average victim having had it shared between 30 and 50 times. Sadly, while government agencies and private corporations are often aware of the rightful owners of the stolen Social Security numbers they purposely do not notify them, but do not hesitate to contact them for back taxes owed or unpaid loans racked up by the imposter a.k.a. illegal alien. And their buying of counterfeit cards, suppliers who steal them or others manufacturing them use a base of real people accounting for 90% of them. In fact a newborn baby with a Social Security number could already have bought a house by the time he is 6 months old!
The federal agencies are not involved in trying to tackle the problem because of their derived benefit from it in addition to corporate America’s. Therefore the perpetuation of the problem leads to additional taxes collected by the IRS and the SSA, while bank lenders sell more loans and employers get inexpensive labor. In one case an illegal alien was able to obtain a dozen credit cards, buy a car and take out an FHA loan using a stolen Social Security number and his own name. All agencies had a record of the abused Social Security number but refrained from notifying the victim.
The biggest travesty is that most consumers discover their breach of security by accident. Victims may not be told there is a problem unless the imposter misses a loan payment for example, as a victim’s credit report will not show a Social Security number used by someone else’s name. And credit applied for by a Social Security number thief will also not appear on the credit report. However, if the rightful person applies for credit not knowing there are several additional credit cards attached to his Social Security number, he may well likely be denied credit due to the extent of the credit line, albeit a perfect credit rating.
But it does not stop there. Victims can have trouble in receiving Social Security Disability Benefits, unemployment benefits or even their Social Security retirement funds. Others are harassed by the IRS looking for payment of income taxes for earned wages by their imposters who do not properly file income taxes. Why would they? Everything in America is free, isn’t it? But the problem does not go away. It resurfaces every April 15th for as long as the illegal is shaking down the system. The IRS is specifically responsible for enforcing the requirement that employers collect accurate Social Security numbers, but has never once levied a fine against a corporation for failing to do so.
And as the Bush administration looks to “fix” the funding of Social Security there is $420 billion sitting in accounting limbo. For every worker paying FICA taxes toward their Social Security fund, millions of payments are made to the SSA with mismatched names and numbers. Since the SSA has no idea who deserves credit for the taxes paid by those wage earners, no one gets credit for it. And that amount is in the hundreds of billions of dollars referred to as the Earnings Suspense File. About 50% of the fund comes from industries such as agriculture, restaurants, construction and various service-oriented businesses. You connect the dots.
James Huse, Jr., the former inspector general of the SSA stated, “It is unlikely the agency will ever inform potential victims……the politics of immigration get involved in this. This is the schizophrenia of the federal government. The Homeland Security people are screaming about the accuracy of records and you have the IRS taking money from wherever it comes.” So is there need for immigration reform or more laws, rules and agencies? I think not.
Some say that financial crimes are more numerous than terrorist related crimes. But in this case one would have to argue that the stealing of one’s lifetime earnings, Social Security retirement funds, rights to unemployment benefits, while breaking tax laws and committing bank fraud by way of false documentation more than qualifies as terrorist related. Embedded in our interior, never knowing when they will strike, like most terrorists they also have no regard for the public-at-large. But most distressing of all is that these nouveau-terrorists have carte blanche to continue to personally terrorize us as they invade the U.S., with a government which continues to walk the fine line of betraying the public trust.
March 3, 2005
Diane Grassi can be reached for comment at email@example.com
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