Monday, July 23, 2007

Deliberate Loopholes

When you consider the way Washington operates it is hard to take them seriously. In the interest of affirmative action, several obstacles to enforcement have been built in to the law. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the employment verification area.

The I-9 form has been around for a couple of decades. I can remember when our personnel department had everyone fill out the form and present their ID for verification. It was much simpler in the early days. There weren’t three columns of ID to choose from and the form itself was less than one page (including the instructions).

There are however a couple of nuggets of truth in the current I-9 form. For example, the box right at the top of the first page reminds employers that it is OK to discriminate against illegal aliens because THEY DON’T HAVE ANY RIGHTS. It says, “It is illegal to discriminate against any individual (other than an alien not authorized to work in the U.S.) in hiring, discharging, or recruiting…….”

But that is about the only toughness you’ll find on the current form. There are lots of ways to get around the fact that you are “undocumented”.

Now, if I were here illegally I would present a voter registration card as one form of ID. Here in Illinois it is easy to get. First I would find a Democrat Party activist who is a registrar, show her my electric bill, and sign that I am a citizen. Viola! Instant ID.

But I would need one other form of ID. Maybe a “Native American tribal document” or a birth certificate from a state far away. After all, what are the odds that an employer will even know what a Montana birth certificate looks like? (And what are the odds that an employer will even CARE?)

The employer has a choice here. Should I make a photocopy of the IDs presented or not? Well, if you don’t make a copy for the file, that’s OK. And it is safer, because if someone decides to check, there will be no evidence of how bogus the document looked. In other words, it becomes almost impossible to prove that an employer deliberately hired a person they knew was here illegally.

You might think the next step for the employer is to verify the social security number presented. (See the blog “This is the PILOT). But that step is optional, voluntary, not required. I don’t know why. Most employers have access to the Internet these days. If not, there is always the telephone.

Now, we all know that Social Security is in trouble. They are running out of money. They have increased the retirement age for workers in order to keep the fund afloat.

One way the SSA keeps money in the account is by accepting payroll deductions from people who are known to be here illegally. In fact, they LOVE illegals because they will pay in but never draw out. (But watch the politicians. Some of them want illegals to be able to collect. Some of them want to mingle the funds with Canada and Mexico so eligibility is expanded and never compromised.)

Even today the SSA withholds information from Homeland Security about bogus or conflicting Social Security numbers. Things are better, but some secrets remain.

And reading the “No match” letters sent to employers of illegal aliens is laughable. Talk about presumed innocent! If an illegal uses someone else’s Social Security number on the W-2, the employer will get a letter in about six months that says there is a conflict. They list three reasons why the conflict exists:
1) Clerical error
2) The employee changed their name and didn’t report it
3) The information was incomplete or blank.

It doesn’t say that the person might actually be committing fraud. In fact, there is a warn saying: “This letter does not imply that you or your employee intentionally gave the government wrong information….Nor does it make any statement about an employee’s immigration status.”

How PC of them. I’m glad we don’t have an identity theft problem in the U.S. or that attitude might seem careless.

The letter goes on to warn employers NOT to take any drastic action. It sweetly says, “It would be a great help to us if you could respond within 60 days with the information that you are able to correct…”

Wow! Most of the government notices I have seen talk about $500 fines for every day you are in violation and the threat of a jail term. How nice of the SSA to be so friendly.

They can afford to be friendly because all the money that cannot be applied to a legitimate account goes in to a fund to keep Social Security solvent.

No wonder employers hire illegals. They know our government is so screwed up that they can’t or won’t enforce the law. All the company has to do is fill out the I-9 and put it on file.

And Washington wants to scare us by threatening the other extreme, a tamper-resistant national ID card that violates our privacy. I say there is a reasonable middle ground that would catch 75% of the illegals and make fake IDs unaffordable for all but the most determined.

I think Washington doesn’t really WANT to fix the problem.

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