Social Security, Immigrants and Fraud

Article excerpt

Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

More than a year after the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Inspector General issued a report highlighting flaws in the nation's employment verification system, the agency has done little autonomously or with other agencies to remedy the problem of immigrants working illegally in the United States. President Bush, now in his sixth year and vowing to finally enforce our nation's immigration policies, should encourage the agency to cease its foot-dragging.

The Inspector General's June 2006 report identified more than 109,000 cases from 2001 through 2003 in which immigrants fraudulently use government-issued, "non-work" Social Security numbers to obtain employment without authorization. Astonishingly, the problem is particularly rampant among government employees at all levels - local, state and federal. The SSA Inspector General estimated taxpayers shelled out more than $635 million in wages to illegal workers from tax years 2001 through 2003. These figures are staggering.

SSA's Inspector General also laid out recommendations on how the agency could alleviate this problem, including coordinating with the Department of Homeland Security and encouraging employers to use a free online system, now called E-Verify, to confirm whether new hires are eligible to work in the United States. SSA flatly rejected its IG's recommendations and has done virtually nothing since then toward solving the dilemma. …