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39 MILLION: IRLI Investigation Reveals Massive Identity Fraud by Illegal Al


Americans’ Social Security numbers, credit health at risk

WASHINGTON—In pursuit of its mission to safeguard American citizens from the harmful effects of mass migration, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has found that 39 million Americans have potentially had their Social Security numbers stolen by illegal aliens pursuing work in the country during the Obama administration.

IRLI recently filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Social Security Administration (SSA), seeking records related to its Obama-era decision to halt sending "no-match" letters to employers. The long-held practice of sending the letters had been used to prevent fraud through the use of stolen Social Security number (SSN) data by illegal aliens and other criminals. A "no-match" letter informed employers and employees, usually in response to an employee W-2 wage report, that the name or SSN reported by the employer did not match a name or SSN combination reflected in SSA’s records.

The FOIA records produced by SSA as a result of IRLI’s lawsuit have shown that, from 2012 to 2016, there were 39 million instances where names and Social Security numbers on W-2 tax forms did not match the corresponding Social Security records. Additionally, over $409 billion was added to the Earnings Suspense File (ESF), which holds uncredited wages that can’t be correctly matched to SSA’s database. From 1937 to 2005, $519 billion was reported to be sitting in the ESF. In tax year 2016, that number rose to over $1.5 trillion.

Importantly, the Obama administration decided to discontinue the decades-old practice of “no-match” letters within eight days after it implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) amnesty for illegal aliens. Some have said that Obama did this because he didn’t want DACA applicants scared off from the program for fear of identity-theft prosecution.

The termination of no-match letters has resulted in a thriving black market where illegal aliens can obtain the Social Security numbers of U.S. citizens in order to gain employment. The Social Security numbers of young children are especially sought by illegal aliens, as this theft is likely to go undetected for years. As children reach late teenage years and apply for credit for cars, student loans, and other needs, they may find that their credit has been compromised with mortgages, credit cards and criminal records attached to their identities.

Moreover, countless taxpayers are left every year trying to defend themselves against IRS audits for not reporting all earned income. If DACA or any form of amnesty for illegal aliens is ever passed by Congress, tens of millions of aliens who misused someone else’s SSN or made one up to work in the United States should be prohibited by law from having those uncredited wages transferred to a valid Social Security number assigned to them by the SSA.

The Trump administration announced this summer that it was resuming notice letters to employers and third-party providers informing them there is a mismatch and to provide information about SSA’s services, which includes filing tips. In the spring of 2019, SSA will send notices to each employer that files at least one 2018 W-2 form with a name and SSN mismatch and for them to make corrections.

“This investigation shines a light on the depth of America’s problems as a result of allowing illegal aliens into the country,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “It also debunks the idea that being in the country illegally is a victimless crime. Millions of Americans, in many cases children, are having their identities stolen to enable even more criminal activity. Illegal aliens should not reap Social Security benefits that result from the commission of identity theft.”

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org


IRLI is a supporting organization of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

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