Supreme Court rules in immigration case

A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court could have an impact on the immigrant labor force in the United States. In a 9-0 decision, the high court ruled a person could not becharged with felony “aggravated identity theft” unless they were knowingly using another person’s Social Security number.

The case involved a Mexican man who bought a set of false documents and was working at an Illinois steel plant. The court determined he didnot know the Social Security number he was using was that of another individual. It would only be “aggravated identity theft” if he had stolen the number with the intent to steal from that individual. He is still charged with entering the U.S. illegally and using false documents butneither is a felony.

Under the Bush Administration, authorities conducted raids on several companies, rounding up hundreds of illegal workers and charging them with “aggravated identity theft”. Facing a felony charge, many opted to plead guilty and were deported.

Last week the Department of Homeland Security announced they would no longer conduct such raids at companies but would instead work to build a criminal case against the employer first.

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