SCOTUS: Not OK for Illegal Aliens to Use Fake Social Security Numbers

 

In Kansas v. Garcia, SCOTUS ruled Tuesday that Kansas can prosecute illegals who use fake social security numbers when filling out tax forms at the time of employment. The decision was a 5-4 split with the four liberal justices arguing that federal immigration law pre-empts Kansas from doing anything having to do with falsifying federally-mandated forms.

You would think that treating this as a criminal offense would be a no-brainer. Immigration enforcement, however, has been weirdly irrational since the ruling in Plyer v. Doe (1981) in which the Supremes told Texas they could not withhold funding for non-citizens from public education.

From that decision came the universal practice of forbidding state, county, and municipal employees from even asking about citizenship status. The resulting weirdness is a limbo in which millions of illegals reside among us while state and local authorities pretend not to notice, even going so far as to give them preferential treatment.

The four liberal justices in Garcia argued, in essence, that if the federal government does not care if people make fraudulent use of social security numbers and federal employment forms then the states must accept known frauds in their midst as a matter of de facto federal immigration policy (and presumably not tell the feds they know). Oddly enough, this deference to federal pre-emption does not apply when liberal judges object to ICE defying sanctuary cities to enforce deportation orders. Also odd, similar protection against state action would not be extended to actual US citizens who used fake social security numbers when taking a new job because there is no federal immigration law pre-emption exemption for them.

Trump’s re-election is vital if for no other reason than the fact it will take a lot of judicial battles to bring some clarity and common sense back to immigration policy. A SCOTUS decision two decades ago established the compulsory idiocy of not noticing express violation of immigration law. This is mostly what put us in this mess, and means that SCOTUS (and Congress) are making us pull out of it one case at a time. That will not happen if the left retakes full control.

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  1. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Old Bathos: SCOTUS: Not OK for Illegal Aliens to Use Fake Social Security Numbers

    No kidding? 🤦‍♂️

    • #1
  2. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: SCOTUS: Not OK for Illegal Aliens to Use Fake Social Security Numbers

    No kidding? 🤦‍♂️

    It was a close issue.  That’s how much the stupidity hurts in immigration law and policy.

    The majority had to narrowly focus on the state’s use of tax information to get around the notion that only the feds can do anything about this kind of fraud.  But like I said above, when ICE asserts federal peremptory authority to make an arrest in a sanctuary jurisdiction, these same liberals will suddenly be stronger on state and local rights than John C. Calhoun.

    • #2
  3. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    It’s good to see federalism win a round.

    • #3
  4. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: SCOTUS: Not OK for Illegal Aliens to Use Fake Social Security Numbers

    No kidding? 🤦‍♂️

    It takes Ivy League trained lawyers to screw up the laws so badly.

    • #4
  5. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    The heartening part of the linked SCOTUSblog analysis:

    Thus, Garcia might indicate that a solid majority of justices are willing to completely or incrementally abandon implied preemption. Such a jurisprudential trend would alter the regulatory landscape in areas well beyond unauthorized employment of noncitizens.

    Seems about right. 

    • #5
  6. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    It’s good to see federalism win a round.

    And rule of law.  I think many in DC forget the purpose of government is to protect our inalienable rights.

    • #6
  7. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Old Bathos: Also odd, similar protection against state action would not be extended to actual US citizens who used fake social security numbers when taking a new job because there is no federal immigration law pre-emption exemption for them.

    I echo max’s facepalm.

    • #7
  8. Paul Erickson Inactive
    Paul Erickson
    @PaulErickson

    I am not fluent in legalese – and also a bit lazy.  What was Kansas actually prosecuting the illegals for?  I can understand the liberal justices’ view if Kansas was prosecuting them specifically for using fake SSNs.  That would seem to be a federal crime.  OTOH if they were prosecuting them, in general, for fraud in employment, there should be no question.  One way to test it would be to see if the prosecution would be any different if the fake document was a (state issued) driver license, rather than a SSN.

    Am I missing something?

    • #8
  9. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Thanks for the report.  Interesting decision.

    The losing side argued that the invalidity of the Kansas law followed from the 2012 SCOTUS decision in Arizona v. United States, which invalidated Arizona statutes which were consistent with federal immigration law — specifically, the Arizona provisions at issue: (1) made it a state crime to be be unlawfully present in the US and fail to register with federal authorities; (2) made it a state crime to work or seek work without authorization to do so (meaning authorization under federal law); and (3) authorized the warrantless arrest of a person suspected of being unlawfully present, with probably cause (note that the law generally allows warrantless arrests, as long as there is probable cause).

    This Arizona law was invalidated by a 5-3 majority, and it presumably would have been 6-3 had Kagan not recused herself.  The opinion was by Kennedy, joined by Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor.  Kennedy has been replaced by Kavanaugh.  The dissenters were Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.  Scalia has been replaced by Gorsuch.

    It is good news that Chief Justice Roberts came out on the pro-state side of this case.  This does not signal that the Arizona case is to be overturned.  If they wanted to do so, they would have.

    I am a bit disappointed that they did not overturn Arizona, but they evidently didn’t have the votes.

    • #9
  10. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Paul Erickson (View Comment):

    I am not fluent in legalese – and also a bit lazy. What was Kansas actually prosecuting the illegals for? I can understand the liberal justices’ view if Kansas was prosecuting them specifically for using fake SSNs. That would seem to be a federal crime. OTOH if they were prosecuting them, in general, for fraud in employment, there should be no question. One way to test it would be to see if the prosecution would be any different if the fake document was a (state issued) driver license, rather than a SSN.

    Am I missing something?

    Kansas got them for identity theft.  State criminal jurisdiction was established when they filled out the state version of the W-4 form.

    States still can’t act solely because somebody violated federal immigration law but this decision means that sanctuary/amnesty boosters can’t expand immunity from state action to broadly invalidate state laws just because it happens to involve someone violating federal immigration law.  The decision by SCOTUS is that just because the feds don’t know or care whether you lie to them on federal forms it does not require states to pretend they don’t notice when you lie to them.

     

     

    • #10
  11. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    A major reason why a resounding re-election vote in November is necessary if we are to have any chance at restoring sovereignty and the rule of law in immigration.  NTs are AWOL on this issue.

    • #11
  12. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    It’s sad that such a common sense ruling makes news.

    • #12
  13. J. D. Fitzpatrick Member
    J. D. Fitzpatrick
    @JDFitzpatrick

    Meh. “Sam Alito has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.” 

    • #13
  14. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    States still can’t act solely because somebody violated federal immigration law but this decision means that sanctuary/amnesty boosters can’t expand immunity from state action to broadly invalidate state laws just because it happens to involve someone violating federal immigration law. The decision by SCOTUS is that just because the feds don’t know or care whether you lie to them on federal forms it does not require states to pretend they don’t notice when you lie to them.

    A rare instance when the Court deems that the states actually have jurisdiction if not quite sovereignty.

    • #14
  15. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    I don’t really understand why this was a tough call and went 5-4. This seems blatantly obvious. And the 4 liberal justices are totally in lockstep as usual. 

    • #15
  16. aardo vozz Member
    aardo vozz
    @aardovozz

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    It’s good to see federalism win a round.

    And rule of law. I think many in DC forget the purpose of government is to protect our inalienable rights.

    This assumes DC knew the purpose of government in the first place.

    • #16
  17. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Paul Erickson (View Comment):
    I can understand the liberal justices’ view if Kansas was prosecuting them specifically for using fake SSNs. That would seem to be a federal crime.

    Probably charged with fraud on state tax forms . . .

    • #17
  18. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    What matters here is the hammer and anvil of SCOTUS and POTUS forcing Congress to do its darn job. Make them make clear law, one way or the other.

    • #18
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