Everyone in Canada needs a Social Security Number to work. Sure , if you hire a nanny or a pool boy or a landscaper, you can’t write them off on your taxes so why get the government involved. But businesses here in Canada need official paperwork on their employee income in order to write the expense off on their income. Aren’t US companies faced with the same dilemna ? I can’t see a construction company here hiring an illegal alien.
Exactly. There are lots of places that illegals can go to obtain forged/stolen Social Security cards, drivers licenses, green cards (authorization for aliens to work in the US), etc. It’s a thriving business, and the Feds and state authorities don’t have the manpower to keep it under control.
If an employer really wanted to, they could check whether the Social Security number matches the name of the employee, but they are not required to under current law, and most don’t want to go to the expense.
It’s not just the expense, it’s the potential legal liability. If employers verify one person’s SS#, they would be well-advised to verify all applicants’, lest they be accused of discriminating against certain employees on the basis of presumed immigration status/national origin/ethnicity, etc. More details here (warning: .pdf).
Eva Luna, Immigration Paralegal
Wouldn’t prove that the guy in front of you is actually the guy with that social.
Nothing to keep you from finding out the name associated with a given SS# and then getting a fake ID with a matching name.
Also made more difficult by the fact that there is no “bad” social security numbers, no check digits, etc. So essentially, every number is good. I think there are a few exceptions (666) but overwhelmingly, any number will work.
There was a story not too long ago, there was a story of a woman who had one of the most misreported numbers ever. She was a secretary or something at a company that produced wallets, they decided to use her number in the “sample” cards. Through the decades that followed, many people confused/misused the number as their own.
You can sometimes tell what state the number was issued in, but I don’t think it is very precise, sometimes you can tell the year range also. Now, when you get a social security card at birth it would be easier to tell if it was your actual number, however, if you are like me, I didn’t get a social security card until I was working age and I was living in the state for just one year of my life. My work record doesn’t go back that far on a typical application or resume, so at first glance, even if my employer knew the state codes and such, they wouldn’t know whether or not I lived there without specifically asking me.
Then again, I know of a familymember that has used so many fake SS#'s over the years, she wasn’t sure for a while which one was actually hers.
For something that is supposed to be so closely guarded, it isn’t secure at all. (Let’s not even talk about the security of the benefits implied)
This is just one example, I’m sure there are thousands of variations.
I operated a big rig for 24 years, the first 9+ in the moving business. I hired temp. help on a regular, day laborer, basis. I paid cash and only required a receipt including name, address and SS number. I was just one of tens of thousands of truckers who did this on a regular basis. Then consider construction labor, agriculture, handymen, ocassional housekeepers, lawn mowing, ad. infinitum.
There may be some rule that I was supposed to actually see a SS card, I don’t know. My priority was to find willing, capable people to do the job. I didn’t see it as my responsibility to act a a policeman, or legal agent of the gov’t., I was simply trying to make a living.
This isn’t just a question of big employers, like Walmart, dodging the law. We, as a society, have looked the other way for years on this issue. The ultimate beneficiary is the consumer. It may be popular to suddenly hold all these employers responsible, but there’s a price to pay for that approach, for all of us.
There’s no simple answer to the illegal immigration problem and you should be suspicious of any politician who tells you they have the answer.
In this day of computers and the internet I really don’t get how difficult it could be for someone to type in a SS# into a government database and check for its accuracy. Sure there’s 300 million Americans, but there are also billions of credit cards, and those have a verification process that takes 5 seconds. You’d think the government would be losing so much tax revenue that they’d make this a law, but either a) beuracracy is terribly slow on things like this or b) the government actually benefits more from keeping employers who use illegals happy.
This is not correct at all. (Well, it’s correct that there are no check digits in the SSN. And that area number 666 was not used. But so are 734-751, and 766-999.)
But there is a definate pattern to the numbers, and ranges are assigned to particular states, and were used for particular periods of time. Given the state of birth, you can check to see if that SSN could have been issued from that state. And with the birthdate, you can check even closer, to see if that SSN could have been issued at that time. It’s a complicated pattern, and you can’t just look at a number and tell if it’s valid.
There are software companies that make their living selling SSN Validation packages. Here’s one: http://www.attustech.com/solutions/products.aspx?prodid=5
Wikipedia has a fairly accurate summary of this.
Or c)They actually make as much or more on taxes from illegals as legals, because most illegals pay their taxes, but will see no benefits.
Not only that, but it is possible to enter the country legally (even with a work permit) and stay illegally.
My employer tried that in '98: being a Miami company, they were used to foreign workers who could not “just go back home” like I could and did. Being permit-less meant that the employer could call INS on you if you ever got a job offer from another company; also, when they shafted you elsewhere what would you do, call the police?
My ss# is not from my state of birth, it is from a state I lived in for one year. My grandfathers SS# was not from his state of birth. My husbands grandfather was not from his state of birth. You can tell what state it was issued in, and when it was issued, within a fairly close range. It isn’t hard to make up a number that would appear to work for me, that isn’t me.
My point is that for a number we are supposed to guard so well, it really doesn’t do a very good job of being a secure identification number. That and the fact that numbers get reused.
All the recent buzz about identity theft has taught us that the traditional ways of “knowing who you are” really are lacking, are easily forged, and seldom verified and very difficult to correct. Many folks, lacking the resources/desire/incentive I would guess, would be pretty happy with a cursory looky loo at someones info and go from there. Like fake ID’s for drinking, sure, there is a penalty if you get caught, but how reasonable is it for a bouncer to drop your info into a database to see if that is really you? Risk vs. Reward.
The fact is, it is easier for me to hire say, a maid to come clean my house for $75 k and cut the check, than to verify legal status, deduct taxes and declare it.
Heck, very large companies are outsourcing their employees to different countries because there is such a huge economic incentive to do so. Not even mentioning all the temp agencies that exist and thrive on companies wanting employees, but not wanting to offer benefits. As far as I can tell, companies will do whatever they can to not have to bear the “burden” of employees as much as they possibly can. As long as this is the case, we will always have problems with alien workers.
My question: if an illegal alien submits a false/stolen SS number, then taxes get deucted 9and paid0 toward that SS number. let’s assume the SS number is stolen-it belongs to another person 9American citizen0. Doesn’t the SS administration report excess SS deductions to that p[erson? if I were notified that somebody was using MY SS number, i’d damn sure fire off a letter to the SS Administration, and advise them of the fact. Again, if the SS number belongs to a dead person, the SS Admin would know as well. Which leads me to my point: most illegal aliens are working “off the books”-they neither pay Fedral taxes or SS. That is what illegal immigration is going to hit hard in 10-20 years time-there will be MILLIOBNS of illegal aliens claiming SS benefits- which they have paid NOTHING in to. of course, the Congress doesn’t care-they are too busy padding their own pensions! :o
Maybe, maybe not. It’s only been the past few years that the SSA has routinely issued annual earnings statements, so many people probably have had no idea what earnings have been credited to their accounts until recently. Factor in that many people really don’t read their mail very closely, and that it’s to a person’s advantage to have more earnings credited to their SS accounts, and you can see that there are going to be some holes.
IME government databases can take quite some time to be cross-matched with each other. And if the SSA can’t find the contributor, they aren’t going to be able to return the payroll deductions.
Wrong - even the Social Security Administration acknowledges that a significant percentage of deductions are made from the paychecks of people whose eligibility for a Social Security number can’t be verified.
People without lawful U.S. immigration status aren’t eligible for Social Security benefits.
Nitpick - it’s a Social Insurance Number up here.
Here in Canada, when I get a job and a 9 digit Social Insurance Number, the employer submits deductions to the federal government every three months. In February, the employer provides me with an official document showing the total of income tax deductions, unemployment insurance premiums, and Canada Pension Plan and private pension deductions as well as union dues. Like most Canadian workers, I’ll work out a reconciliation calculating the federal and provincial taxes. I submit my reconciliation in official format to the federal government which will run through the data, make corrections if neccessary, and reimburse me with income tax overpayment and tax credits. For many workers, there will be a cash refund in the order of $1000.
Every several years, I’ll get a statement showing my Canada Pension Plan history from day 1. They have all my information.
Now the employer has to submit the same information presented to me to the federal government, total wages and deductions. The employer needs to write off his entire cost to employ me.
Now if a Mexican illegal were to submit a phoney number (By the way, I lost my card many years ago, and of 30 or so jobs I’ve had, never once did I have to show it) I’m fairly certain that a problem would arise with a duplicate number or an unauthorized number in Ottawa. I just can’t see an illegal getting away with it.
I think I have my answer however from this thread. It appears that SS numbers are issued by the state. Fifty separate identity data bases would suggest a lack of control by the government. There probably is little verification going on on the part of the government. Which leads me to wonder why employers don’t just make up phoney employees to avoid paying taxes.
Well, it has been (alleged) that the illegal alien worker actually pays taxes. I doubt it:
-suppose you own a landscape company. Jose (newly arrived from mexica) shows up looking for a job. You give him a stolen SS number, and pay him a trivial amount ($1.20/hour). Jose pays /has deucted taxes and SS on that amount. meanwhile, you pay him (cash0 an additional $8.00/hour. Now, Jose meets and marries an illegal alien, and they have a child (automatic american citizen). This “authorizes” them to stay in the US-and they become eligible for welfare, free medical care, public housing. meanwhile Jose files his tax return-and claims 12 dependents 9and gets all of his taxes back, PLUS EIC!). The holder of the (stolen) SS number gets a demand note from the IRS, for the amount of the taxes and EIC rebated to Jose.-only he can’t figure out how he (a corporate executive) wound up working for a landscape company in another state.
So, in sum: the owner of the company gets rich (because he can pay Jose substandard wages), the US taxpayer gets screwed (because he winds up paying the bills for Jose and his family0, and the ho,der of the SS number gets a big bill!
What a wonderful system? :smack:
They’ll be told they don’t have enough years of qualifying work as real citizens with SSNs to qualify.
Heck, if I spoke Spanish, I’d take my retirement savings to Mexico and live there.
I bet $3000 per month goes a lot further in the non-tourist parts of Mexico than it does here…
No, the numbers are not issued by the state, they are issued by the Federal government, but the first 3 digits are assigned according to the state where the application originated. So if someone who knows the system sees that the first 3 digits of my SSN are 272, they will know that I applied for my card in Ohio (which is not where I was born, but where I lived when I got my first job).
In recent years the IRS started requiring dependent children to have an SSN for parents to claim them as a tax deduction, so now most people get their SSN soon after being born.
You make a good point.
If America wanted to end illegal labor, it couldn’t, but it could cut back on it by 95%. It’s not our #1 priority, and I doubt it will ever be. Be nice if all our other concerns went away and we could screw around with that, though.
One nitpick on your observation: the illegal won’t get caught the first day, doing what you mentioned. If he changed jobs every time the Canadian Feds were about to do yearly processing on that, he’d never get caught. A lot of illegals are in jobs where you don’t exactly build up tenure, or have a real motivation to stay at the same job for very long.