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Identity theft, illegals and the kids of Wisconsin

Jumping the border fence
Jumping the border fence©iStockphoto.com

Identity theft and illegal immigrants are no odd couple to this or my identity theft column. Now enter the children and the growing crime of child identity theft.

A recent story (see video) out of Milwaukee links the three: illegal immigrants, identity theft and kids, and it’s no holy trinity. It’s a distressing story about illegal immigrants trying to survive in a country where ambivalence prevails when it comes to immigration reform even at the expense of the children and their future.

That the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not consider identity theft, especially child identity theft a threat to public safety is troubling. It demonstrates either a lack of understanding of how the crime of identity theft affects its victims or a political tolerance so strong towards illegal immigration that protection of illegal immigrants is favored over the protecting legal citizens including children from a crime that can last a lifetime.

Consider recent article in the National Identity Theft Examiner Column where a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court considered the release of state worker birthdates a threat to their personal security. Identity theft is a crime against the victims, a felony violation of both federal and state laws. Misuse of a child’s Social Security Number by another person has many consequences.

When children, victimized by identity theft, grow up, they can face myriad issues. They can be denied a driver’s license, insurance, tenancy, a cell phone, utilities, a student loan, other credit, a job, and even college admission. They can be charged with crimes they didn’t commit. They can be at risk of being medically mistreated if they were a victim of medical identity theft.

Illegal immigrants in Wisconsin can use the fake identification to obtain government benefits too, such as food stamps, Medicaid, and other services through county government that turn their cheek to fraudulent benefits applications. Everytime an illegal immigrant use the Social Security number of a real person they create a new identity theft victim.

The contentious voter identification law will be tested in Tuesday's Spring elections. Using the identity of another person to vote is not only voter fraud, it is also identity theft.

Opponents of the new voter identification law argue there is no proof that this type of fraud occurs. Opponents of the law say that the law disenfranchises African Americans and Latinos because they don’t have identification.

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