Although the Internal Revenue Service has known for months that illegal immigrants have been stealing U.S. citizens’ Social Security numbers to obtain jobs, the agency chose not to inform the compromised victims, the IRS inspector general said Tuesday.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen initially admitted in April that he was aware of the thefts when he testified during a hearing with the Senate Finance Committee. Koskinen proceeded to inform the committee that if the undocumented workers were already in the United States, then the IRS would encourage them to pay U.S. taxes on any income they earned from their employment.
“The IRS pretends its only concern is tax compliance, but in reality they have made a decision to be complicit in the illegal hiring phenomenon,” Vaughan said.
“They are undocumented aliens … They’re paying taxes. It’s in everybody’s interest to have them pay the taxes they owe,” Koskinen said.
A Tuesday report from the Treasury inspector general for tax administration confirmed Koskinen’s April testimony, adding that “the IRS has not established an effective process to ensure that the required notice is sent to the Social Security Administration to alert it of earnings not associated with a victim of employment-related identity theft.”
In order for undocumented immigrants to obtain employment in the U.S., they are required to submit Social Security numbers. If the illegal immigrants obtained fraudulent numbers by stealing legal taxpayers’ information to file their taxes, then the IRS apparently simply accepted the money and asked few questions when the numbers didn’t match up.
The report also indicated the security compromise affected approximately 1.1 million victims of employment-related identity theft between February 2011 and December 2015.
And what was Koskinen’s excuse back in April for the issue?
“Our job is to make sure people pay the taxes they owe from the earnings they’ve had,” Koskinen said during another hearing. “To the extent that they’re here under circumstances that don’t meet the immigration laws or don’t correspond with the Social Security Administration, it’s really [other] agencies’ job to pursue that.”
But Koskinen’s response — coupled with the report’s confirmation — do not satisfy proponents for national security and the enforcement of immigration laws.
“This is an absolute scandal — first that the federal government knows the names, addresses, and employers of a million illegal aliens who have stolen the identity of Americans, and done nothing about it, and secondly that they can’t be bothered to notify the victims of this crime,” Jessica Vaughan, the director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told LifeZette in a statement. “Identity theft is serious.”
Vaughan proceeded to say that she personally knows of cases “in which children have been unable to claim vital social services because an illegal alien is earning income off their stolen Social Security number, of young men who try to join the military but are rejected because the identity thief has committed crimes, of couples who can’t get a mortgage because the thief trashed their credit history, and of people who have been arrested because the police think they are illegal alien fugitives.”
“The IRS pretends its only concern is tax compliance, but in reality they have made a decision to be complicit in the illegal hiring phenomenon,” Vaughan said. “Some state governments have taken action to crack down on this, but it really is a nationwide problem requiring a federal response.”