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Introduction of Illegal Immigration and Identity Theft Legislation

Location: Washington, DC


* Mr. GALLEGLY. Madam Speaker, today I introduced six bills that focus on the problems of illegal immigration and identity theft.

* The first priority for this new Congress and any Congress, for that matter, should be to reduce the high levels of illegal immigrants entering this nation. This is a problem that goes directly to our responsibilities as a sovereign nation to secure our borders and enforce our laws.

* Two of my bills address the crux of the illegal immigration problem in the United States. We know that most illegal immigrants come here looking for work. If we stop illegal workers from gaining employment, they would be less likely to enter our country illegally in the first place

* To get a job, a person must provide his employer with a social security number. In many cases, an illegal immigrant simply provides a name and a fictitious social security number. Too often, an illegal immigrant has adopted the identity of a hard working American who is unaware that his identity has been stolen until he is refused a loan or contacted by an irate creditor.

* The federal government currently has the capability to deter identity theft. Every year, employers have to file W-2 forms with the Social Security Administration that include the names, social security numbers and addresses of their workers.

* Today, when the Social Security Administration receives multiple W-2 forms with the same social security number and different names and/or addresses, it simply ignores it, even when it is obvious that more than one person is using a Social Security number!

* In other cases, when an employer files a W-2 with a name and Social Security number that does not match, the government simply mails the worker a letter explaining the discrepancy. That's it. The Social Security Administration does little to no follow-up. This has led to many discrepancies that the Social Security Administration has yet to resolve. In fact, a GAO report found that as of November 2004, there were 246 million unresolved discrepancies--involving $463 billion--dating back to 1937, the beginning of the Social Security program.

* My legislation would change that.

* The Employment Eligibility Verification and Anti-Identity Theft Act would require workers to resolve discrepancies if their names and Social Security numbers do not match. Employers would have to terminate workers who do not resolve discrepancies. The Social Security Administration would also be required to notify the Department of Homeland Security so it can investigate whether a crime has been committed.

* The Identity Theft Notification Act of 2007 would require the Social Security Administration to investigate if it receives more than eight (8) separate W -2 forms with the same Social Security number if the number corresponds with four (4) different addresses in a single year. If the Social Security Administration finds evidence of fraudulent activity, it is required to notify not only the Department of Homeland Security, but also the legal possessor of that Social Security number. This will enable innocent people to take steps to protect their credit, identity, and good name.

* Although jobs are the primary magnets that bring illegal immigrants to this country, I have also introduced another bill that will remove a major incentive for people to come to this country illegally.

* The Citizenship Reform Act of 2007 would simply bring our laws into line with virtually every other nation on earth by requiring that at least one parent be a citizen or permanent resident in order for a child to become automatically a citizen.

* Additionally, I have also introduced a bill that will make our current immigration law more fair. Under current law, an illegal immigrant who leaves the country faces a bar of up to three years if he has been in the country illegally for more than 6 months, and a ten year bar if he has been here illegally for more than a year. However, if an illegal immigrant never leaves the country but applies to adjust his status, he faces no reentry prohibitions. This is fundamentally unfair. My legislation provides that all illegal immigrants face the same penalty--even if they are eligible for a change in status.

* Finally, I have introduced two bills that would criminalize actions common among illegal immigrants.

* Unfortunately, many illegal immigrants who are apprehended and agree to voluntarily depart either fail to leave or leave only to return. My bill would make it a felony, with a mandatory one year jail sentence, for illegal immigrants agree to leave and then either fail to leave or return illegally.

* I have also found that too many illegal immigrants have figured out that they are given a ``get out of jail free card' when they are given a notice to appear. Another bill I have introduced would make it a felony, with a mandatory one-year jail sentence, when illegal immigrants ignore the law and refuse to appear in court when ordered.

* I know that these bills, if passed, will dramatically reduce illegal immigration and identity theft. I ask my colleagues for their support to protect our nation's sovereignty and our citizens' identities.

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