This stupid Washington Post article about Social Security ID fraud

Re this Records Checks Displace Workers - Social Security Letters Cost Immigrants Jobs

When I first read the article headline and well into the first paragraph I thought this was going to be about some heartless miscarriage of justice by the government as the article described the anguish of people losing their jobs. When we get to the meat of the issue it turns out that the Social Security Administration is merely cleaning up their records database and flagging people with ID discrepancies, a good many of whom are apparently using fake SS numbers and ID info to obtain jobs.

Finally towards the middle and end of the article someone injects a note of common sense.

Wow what a newsflash it’s illegal immigration, with undocumented workers using fraudulent ID’s being paid off the books. Instead of being cast as an effective way to clean up SS ID fraud, the SS action is initally cast as some heartless, jackbooted thuggery against hardworking innocents. Thanks for the clarification WP!

Wow! This “problem” has been going on for years. I thought action was taken sooner, but apparently not. The only bright side I see in someone else using my SSN is if I get the tax credit for their work.

I don’t see how legal immigrants would be adversely affected by the crackdown.

Well, I can see both sides of this. The point is that government agencies are supposed to use the information they have for their own purposes and not for other purposes. The IRS is supposed to use the information they have about individuals for the sole purpose of collecting taxes, the INS for immigration, etc. and generally people feel it is better that way rather than have the entire government share all your information. I definitely prefer it that way. I would not like any government official anywhere to be able to access a database where he can get all the information all government agencies have about an individual.

Then there is the fact that the US does rely on illegal labor. It just is. It would be nice to live in a world where the laws were clear and everybody respected them but the fact is many laws are in the books but are not respected. Many laws are in the books but not enforced and this keeps a balance between those who want the law and those who don’t.

Immigration laws are a bad mess and their enforcement another bad mess but that would be another thread.

The question here is whether SS information should be used for other law enforcement purposes and not just for SS. That’s a valid question and each one will come to their own answer.

I read this article a couple hours ago, and had a similar reaction, astro. I’m always somewhat relieved to hear that another decision hasn’t been made “there’s no way to stop illegal immigration”. Why not be as overcrowded as India or China?

However my annoynace is not leveled at some individual who manages to get in. Good for them, I say. I’m highly angry, however, at the businesses that profit by breaking laws. I’d also like to wring the neck of acquaintances who’s answer to the immigration issue is “It’s a free country, everybody can come who wants to. What’s the problem?”

I think quite a few people feel ambivalence. The Post article, I was thinking, was a way of explaining a rather important news item, that Social Security is cracking down on thousands of misused numbers. At the moment, it’s an issue of national security, and it’s something most Americans will see as good news.

On the other hand, there’s no point in scaring the living hell out of every one of millions of illegal immigrants and their families. It’s unfair. (It’s also stupid, unless we want riots to break out in every major city.) The article seemed to be saying to those millions, “Hey! You haven’t been completely forgotten. There are people who are still worried about your rights.”

That artical reads like it’s out of the Onion.

“Economy suffers due to new anti-shoplifting technology”. Thousands of shoplifters across the country have been unemployed by a new device which prevents shoplifting. The device works similar to existing beeping door alarms that malls across america are used to. However, this new technology is available at a fraction of the cost. This means that more stores than ever will be closed to shoplifters. These hardworking individuals will be forced to take jobs for $6 an hour instead of the $12 or more they could earn selling thier stolen goods. “It’s just not fair” says Bill Smith a 15 year old punk who until now stole regularly from local businesses. “Before, I would go to the mall and steal all day long, now I am going to have to work at a store in the mall in order to buy stuff. This anti-shoplifting thing sucks!”. Many groups representing teenage boys view the new technology as descriminatory and are proceeding with a lawsuit against the manufacturer.

They don’t make a :rolleyes: big enough for this story.

I think I’ll move this to Great Debates.