OCTOBER 16, 2013

New report shatters the myth of the “Otherwise Law-Abiding” illegal alien

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new report from the Center for Immigration Studies details the many statutes the average illegal alien may be violating, shattering the myth of the so-called “otherwise law-abiding” illegal alien. Many politicians and journalists have embraced the myth of the otherwise law-abiding illegal alien in an effort to promote amnesty and higher levels of immigration, arguing that illegal immigration is not a threat to the United States.

But the average illegal alien violates many statutes, often creating real victims. Some of the laws cited in this report include:

• Social Security Fraud, (42 U.S.C. § 408). This statute has been invoked where an illegal alien provided a false Social Security number for the purpose of acquiring a job, where an illegal alien used a fraudulent Social Security number for the purpose of acquiring a driver’s license, and where an illegal alien used a Social Security card belonging to a citizen in order to obtain Section 8 housing, for example.

• Fraud and False Statements (18. U.S.C. § 1001). It is common for illegal aliens to make false statements to the government or on official documents. An illegal alien violates this law when claiming to be a U.S. citizen on an I-9 Employment Eligibility form, for example.

• False Personation of a U.S. Citizen (18. U.S.C. § 911). An illegal alien violates this statute when he presents himself as U.S. citizen to his employer, claims to be a citizen for purposes of voting, receiving some government benefit, or attempting to avoid deportation by presenting fraudulent documents, for example.

Violations of these statutes can result in a fine and/or imprisonment up to five years each, and courts can require violators to provide restitution to American victims.

“Unfortunately, Congress appears more concerned about turning law-breakers into U.S. citizens than making sure American victims receive restitution,” said Jon Feere, the legal policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies. “An amnesty would give illegal aliens a pass for violating these laws and sweep evidence of ID theft under the rug, leaving American victims to fend for themselves.”

As it is, many of these laws are going unenforced due to the Obama administration’s enforcement prioritization scheme that gives so-called low-level offenders a pass. It is not until an illegal alien commits a violent act that enforcement becomes a priority. Removing illegal aliens at the first instance of illegal activity, no matter how small the crime, could prevent larger crimes in the future. This type of enforcement — opposite the approach taken by the Obama administration — might be considered the “broken windows” theory of immigration enforcement. A commitment to immigration enforcement could prevent tens of thousands of Americans from becoming victims.

The full report is available online:  http://cis.org/myth-law-abiding-illegal-alien.

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