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Identity Theft

The Supreme Court of the U.S. heard arguments Wednesday February 25, 2009 about the degree of blame of an illegal immigrant who gave an employer a false social security card. The immigrant did not know the social security number belonged to a specific person. Immigrants who number in the millions do this to be able to work and not for the purpose of taking money out of someone else’s bank account or credit card.The immigrant in this case was an undocumented Mexican. He was arrested by Immigration and charged with aggravated identity theft. His defense was that he hadn’t known the social security number belonged to any specific person. He was sentenced to 2 years for an aggravated identity theft. He appealed, ultimately to the U.S. Supreme Court.The case raises the issue of whether the theft was done knowingly in the sense of that there was an intention to do harm to a specific person. The argument focuses on that fact that if the Immigrant chose a social security number that should refer to a specific person, there would be a penalty of 2 years in jail. If the social security number did not refer to a specific person, there would be no such penalty. The justices seemed to believe this was arbitrary and illogical. The Court’s concern should be to properly assess the degree of culpability, not allow immigrants to be intimidated and be pressured to agree to deportation.
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