"When a fraudulent Social Security number is sent to Washington, the government deposits the accompanying money in an 'earnings suspense file (ESF),' a kitty that by last October had grown to $586 billion..."

Breaking News:  Illegal Aliens Still Work Among Us

Despite the defeat of the Amnesty for Illegal Aliens and Assorted Other Outrages bill in the U.S. Senate, the scope of the problem has diminished not one iota.  The American people did not just want egregious legislation killed; they also want the federal government to mount credible, transparent efforts to begin reducing the systemic problem.

Throughout the tempestuous debate, Senator Ted Kennedy, spittle spewing in the finest Shakespearean tradition, kept reciting the same line. Opponents of his "tough, fair and practical" masterpiece (of chicanery) had no solution to offer instead.

That confused us, because we (in large and good company) have been saying for some years now that a government devoted to enforcement of existing law might, just theoretically, you know, make a good start.  At the very least, a government devoted to enforcement of existing law might have reduced many amnesty opponents' conviction (based on a preponderance of evidence) that government is unwilling and/or incapable of solving the problem.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff helped not at all by continually repeating what could not be done without the bill as opposed to what can be done.  At one point, he told radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock that a two-year delay in shoring up a hole in the border fence in San Diego (known as "Smuggler's Gulch") is an engineering problem.  Sure, that's a committed government. 

Sometimes you fix a fence with what you have, not what you want.  (Sorry, it's not right to paraphrase a former Secretary of Defense who fell on his sword for perceived shortcomings.)

For more than two years now, Human Events Editor at Large Terry Jeffrey has been vainly attempting to draw attention to and get action on a fix we have and have had, but is studiously ignored by the powers-that-be.  He was this week joined by Peter D. Salins, a professor of political science at the State University of New York in a New York Times op-ed that mysteriously got past the censors.

The fix is so simple that it will make you even more cynical than you already are.

Here's Salins:  "Under current employment law, every legal permanent resident of the United States is required to have a Social Security number.  Further, employers must register their employees' status and Social Security numbers with the Social Security Administration and make contributions to the system on their behalf.  Those two features together can serve as a dragnet for identifying all illegal workers....

"When a fraudulent Social Security number is sent to Washington, the government deposits the accompanying money in an 'earnings suspense file (ESF),' a kitty that by last October had grown to $586 billion.  The Social Security Administration does not, however, determine the reasons for the discrepancy (which could be a clerical error or a legitimate name change) or alert Homeland Security and the employer that something is amiss.

"Social Security administrators assert, erroneously, that they are not permitted to aid immigration law enforcement or to share data with the Department of Homeland Security.  The real reason for their reticence is their fear that more aggressive electronic enforcement might invite political outrage.  In 2002, the Social Security Administration chose merely to inform employers of Social Security number discrepancies by sending 950,000 'mismatch' letters.  That action so angered businesses and immigration advocates that a year later the modest bureaucratic effort was largely ended."

Terry Jeffrey has pointed to a Social Security Administration Inspector General report of 2004.  It showed one employer in Illinois with 131,991 "non-match" W-2s in a five-year period.  There was a state-government agency, a security guard company.

Writes Jeffrey:  "According to the Government Accountability Office, the ESF is growing by about 9 million W-2s per year.  This growth is primarily driven by employers who hire illegal aliens and file W-2s on their behalf using either another person's or a fake Social Security Number."

Terry Jeffrey has compiled enough facts and numbers to make your head swim, all pointing to one inevitable conclusion.  The government has plenty of information to begin a giant, systematic crackdown on employers of illegal aliens, beginning with exceptionally large offenders.

Salins believes that, "By directing the Social Security Administration to use its database to enforce our existing immigration laws, President Bush can do this now without waiting for Congress to pass a bill."  But if indeed a bill is needed, Terry Jeffrey has written it.  It's all of three sentences.

Over to you, Mr. President.  Over to you, Senator Kennedy.  While you're taking care of this, we'll be collecting other suggestions.  There's a guy in Miami designing a moat with alligators that sounds promising.  You could send Senators Lindsey Graham and Mel Martinez along with Secretary Chertoff to check it out.

July 5, 2007
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