OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The Supreme Court recently took on a case involving undocumented workers and ruled that illegal aliens who steal Americans’ Social Security numbers can be charged with a crime.
The SCOTUS issued a major 5-4 decision that illegal immigrants who use someone else’s information when filling out tax forms for employment can face criminal charges.
The Immigration Control and Reform Act (IRCA) makes it a federal crime to lie on the I-9 work authorization form while limiting how false information can be used.
Federal law also says information “contained in” the I-9 cannot be used for law enforcement other than specified exceptions — but the Supreme Court ruled that if workers use the same information in tax documents, they can face charges.
“Although IRCA expressly regulates the use of I–9’s and documents appended to that form, no provision of IRCA directly addresses the use of other documents, such as federal and state tax withholding forms, that an employee may complete upon beginning a new job,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the court’s opinion.
The IRCA also prohibits state or local charges or civil cases against “those who employ, or recruit or refer for a fee for employment, unauthorized aliens,” but Alito noted that this “makes no mention of state or local laws that impose criminal or civil sanctions on employees or applicants for employment.”
Fox News provides more information on this particular case:
In the case of Kansas v. Garcia, three immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally used someone else’s Social Security number on their I-9 forms, as well as on tax-withholding forms.
They argued that state prosecutors improperly used information from their I-9 forms.
The state dropped charges that relied on those forms and agreed not to use them during their trials while claiming that the law does not prevent them from using their use of false Social Security numbers on tax documents.
All three were convicted, and all three convictions were upheld by the Kansas Court of Appeals before the Kansas Supreme Court reversed the decisions.
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that charges were improper because “[t]he fact that this information was included in the W–4 and K–4 did not alter the fact that it was also part of the I–9.”