On October 10, congregants at a multi-denominational religious gathering in Maryland offered prayers for the DREAM Act and praise for illegal employment, but no love for the unemployed or identity theft victims.
According to WBAL radio in Maryland, religious leaders including Archbishop Lori of Baltimore urged attendees to pray for Maryland's DREAM Act, which would grant in-state tuition for illegal aliens who have graduated from a Maryland high school, or "who can prove that they or their parents have paid taxes in Maryland for at least three years." As many advocates for rewarding illegal immigration do, Lori "notes either the students or their parents have jobs, and pay taxes," (emphasis added) according to the story.
With 23 million citizens and legal immigrants unable to find a full-time job, Lori's statement is more an admission of the compound harm illegal immigration inflicts than an argument for in-state tuition. Approximately 7 million immigration law violators illegally take good U.S. jobs from Americans, primarily in the construction, manufacturing and service industries. These are payroll jobs that require a Social Security number.
Millions of illegal workers have falsified Social Security numbers or stolen valid ones to take a U.S. job. That has been a major concern of would-be applicants for Secretary Napolitano's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In fact, DHS clarified that they do not want applicants to "include all [Social Security] numbers you have ever used" - as question 9 of the work permit application instructs - in order to allay fears that applicants would be admitting to identity theft and fraud.
The most frequent identity theft targets are children who often go years before they realize their names and financial security have been ransacked. Once they discover the crime, victims have a long, painful uphill battle to reclaim their good standing. They get little help from government agencies that are often aware of identity theft but do no notify the victims.
The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Enforcement heard first-hand testimony about child-victims of identity theft on April 18, 2012, from Jennifer Andrushko of Utah. Andrushko co-founded Defending Our Children's Futureafter her husband lost his job in 2009 and they discovered that their son's financial history had been wrecked. The Andrushkos were denied food stamps and Medicaid because an illegal alien had used their then-3-year-old son's Social Security number to obtain illegal employment and rack up close to $20,000 in medical bills and credit. In her written testimony, Andrushko wrote:
Illegal Alien driven identity theft is ignored, rationalized and supported and perpetrators are defended by some local, state and federal leaders, civic leaders, religious organizations, businesses, media, and law enforcement leaders. These people justify these crimes stating that the crime does not impose a burden, or the perpetrators are forced into this or are told that that is how it is done. The IRS and SSA seem to turn a blind eye as well.
Archbishop Lori's religious gathering and WBAL's coverage of the event affirm Andrushko's statement. The media never contacts groups like Andrushko's for stories like WBAL's even though the Andrushko's story is as compelling as those about teenagers who were forced to violate immigration laws by their parents. Had the WBAL reporter confronted Lori with the reality families like the Andruskos face, Lori might have tempered his enthusiasm for illegal employment with some compassion for victims of illegal employment and identity fraud.
JEREMY BECK is the Director of the Media Standards Project for NumbersUSA