Supreme Court Could Let States Target Undocumented Immigrants With Identity-theft Laws

The Supreme Court will hear a case on whether or not states have the right to prosecute undocumented immigrants under identity-theft laws.

Currently, only the federal government can prosecute illegal immigrants who use fake social security numbers due to a 1986 immigration law and the fact that illegal immigration is typically treated as a federal problem.

Of the roughly 8 million undocumented immigrants in the US, most use fake or stolen social security numbers to skirt the law.

Limited law enforcement resources, however, make it extremely difficult for the federal government to crack down on the fraudulent use of social security numbers.

The case in question involved the convictions of three illegal immigrant workers in Kansas between 2011 and 2012.

The three immigrants sued the state of Kansas for using identity-theft laws to prosecute them over living in the US illegally.

They argued that Kansas–as a state–didn’t have this right. Immigration enforcement was left to the federal government by Congress.

Their conviction was reversed by Kansas’ Supreme Court.

The court found that state authorities gathered the fraudulent social security numbers from I-9 Forms.

Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act, I-9 Form data can only be used for the enforcement of federal law.

Kansas–along with 17 other states–are now arguing to the Supreme Court that they should have the right to punish both US citizens and illegal immigrants equally under identity-theft laws.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing the case.

Read the full story here.

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