For two decades, Congress has neglected to fix failed immigration legislation, leaving a maze of contradictory laws that discourage immigrants from coming, yet encourage them to stay, reports the Charlotte Observer. It is a 20-year story of missed opportunities and weak political will. The result is an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. today. They are here, in part, because of laws that call for borders to be patrolled but allow employers to hire illegal workers with hardly a look at the paperwork they provide.
Some consequences reported in a three-day Observer series last week: Illegal workers have received taxpayer money to help build roads, with neither the federal government nor state agencies requiring contractors to verify workers’ documents. The IRS and Social Security Administration know of possibly millions of cases in which illegal workers use someone else’s Social Security number to get a job — but they don’t let you know if it’s your number being used and don’t use that information to crack down on workers. The IRS and SSA also don’t act upon information that tells them which employers are the most egregious in submitting fraudulent Social Security wage reports — including one company that used the same Social Security number for 2,580 worker reports. Said Howard Coble (R-N.C.): “For the past several years, we’ve been ignoring the issue, hoping it will get better. Now, we have to deal with it.”