How not to solve the immigration problem
This weeks blog is yet again highlighting the bad job congress does of legislating security and immigration. Based on a new law “no match” law passed by Congress to try to stem the tide of illegal aliens flooding the workplace, companies are now liable for large fine and penalties for invalid social security numbers on their payroll. This puts a huge onus on employers to make sure they aren’t submitting bad SSNs, while adding no new penalties for the actual violators (IE illegal immigrants). Making employers de-facto border agents is a terrible way to prevent illegal immigrations. Let’s face it, if they are trying to get a job, they are ALREADY HERE, so the proverbial barn door is open, but in this case, the cow has come in, not gone out.
I had two examples of the idiocy this, on opposite ends of the scale in the last few months.
The first one was in working for a large government client. They had to not only verify the identities of their full time workers but also contractors like us. So, I trotted on down to their HR department with my US passport, my Texas drivers license and a wallet full of other valid ID. Once there I had to fill out a form and interview with one of the clerks assigned to this job. The first thing she asked me for was my social security card. This is a card I lost about 1 day after getting it sometime after my 16th birthday. Given that it was a simple typed card on blue paper, it would have dissolved anyways, the first time it got wet in the rain or the washing machine. I never bothered to go get another one because there was no need. First all of all, the social security card is the worst form of ID ever, especially for determining citizenship. It’s the world easiest document to forge; witness the many stands at any flea market selling them. Its on non-laminated paper, has no picture, no expiration date and hence no way of updating the technology like with driver licenses. Add to this, that is actually terrible practice to carry it in your wallet since it’s very valuable to identity thieves.
Given that I didn’t have this incredibly worthless form on ID on me, she asked for anything else with my SSN and name on it, like a bill or school record. Once again, it is considered terrible practice to even use this number as an ID, never mind printing it on correspondence. And, forget how easy that would be to forge. Anyone have a scanner, photoshop and a laser printer? Finally, she actually asked me if I had a copy of an old tax return. I pointed out to her that I could easily run upstairs, print a tax form, fill in the page with non sense numbers and bring it down to her with any SSN I wanted. She actually stated, “Well we are kinda taking your word for it”. To which I replied “NO YOU ARE NOT. If you were, we wouldn’t be going through this”. I finally got her to begrudgingly accept my US passport as evidence of my citizenship. The US passport is the worlds most secure form of ID, globally recognized and highly tamper proof. Though, I could have presented almost anything to her as that since she clearly wasn’t trained in how to recognize various forms of ID. At that point, I wanted to go on a rant, but just let it go, knowing that she was just doing a job that she really didn’t want to be doing and wouldn’t have cared if I gave her an Al Qaeda fan club ID as long as it didn’t cause her to miss her next smoke break.
As if that wasn’t enough indignity to suffer, a few weeks later, our accounting person at our small consulting firm gets a call from our outsourced Payroll company. They need a copy of everyone in the companies social security card. Well, my HR person said she could see the steam coming through the phone when she told me this, not knowing what I had just gone though at the client. So let me get this straight. They are asking me, the owner of the company, to provide proof that I qualify to work for myself, once again, using a PHOTOCOPYof a worthless form of ID. I had half a mind to photoshop one ID and use them for them all, just to make a point. Finally I just said, screw them, they are aren’t getting it.. and if they don’t like it, they can go pound sand. Enough is enough
The point here is that this law which I’m sure got passed with lots of fanfare about how it was going to stamp out illegals but does absolutely nothing to limit illegals working in this country. Juan doe has all day (and many of them) to work on his fake ID card. He will just keep on getting a cheap forgery that will pass no problem, especially given that the firms that employ the lion share of illegals are construction and food service who inclined to look the other way anyways. And government bureaucrats will keep doting the I’s and crossing the Ts, making life inconvenient and miserable for the rest of us citizens. Our government is going to rid all the small consulting companies like mine of illegal workers. Because when I get a big consulting gig for sensitive IT security work, I drop by the Home Depot in the morning to pick up my team in my pickup.
If congress really wants to round up all the illegals in the workplace, they could handle 99% of it by sending examiners to every construction site and restaurant and have it all wrapped up in one day. Or they can keep doing what they are doing, passing useless laws that have no effect other than to inconvenience and annoy regular law abiding citizens.