Human Events Editor Terence Jeffrey was invited to testify June 21 before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims, chaired by Rep. John Hostettler (R.-Ind.). Here is the opening statement Jeffrey made to the committee:
I will briefly outline a problem I believe is happening where national security, Social Security and corporate accountability intersect.
In February, Adm. James Loy, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, told the Senate Intelligence Committee: “Recent information from ongoing investigations, detentions, and emerging threat streams strongly suggest that al-Qaeda has considered using the Southwest border to infiltrate the United States. Several al-Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons.”
If for no other reason than national security, the federal government needs to take the most effective steps possible to secure our border and enforce the immigration laws.
Yet, today, almost four years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, unidentified persons continue to pour across our border. And many millions live here in violation of our immigration laws, seemingly with impunity.
Certainly, the opportunity to find work in the U.S. is a powerful magnet for illegal immigrants. The sheer numbers of these jobseekers make it more difficult for a limited number of immigration law-enforcement officers to secure the border and enforce the immigration law.
A focused effort to shut down the job magnets—to stop employers from routinely hiring large numbers of illegal immigrants—could diminish this flow, thus making it easier to secure our country.
But where are these job magnets?
The Social Security Administration, I believe, has already created what could be an effective road map for worksite enforcement.
When SSA gets a W-2 report from an employer that it cannot match to a known taxpayer, it dumps that W-2 into what it calls the Earnings Suspense File. These are W-2s, for example, that have bad Social Security numbers, or Social Security numbers and names that do not match, and where efforts to find the person to whom the W-2 belongs have failed.
There are many reasons an employer might file one of these bad W-2s. One reason, however, is that the W-2 represents a non-citizen, who, whether he entered legally or illegally, is un-authorized to work in the United States. In fact, then-SSA Inspector General James G. Huse told this committee in 2002: “Our reviews of the suspended wages in the ESF suggest that illegal work is the primary cause of suspended wages.”
If that is the case, it can at least be reasonably suspected that employers that routinely file large numbers of unmatchable W-2s may be hiring large numbers of illegal immigrants. According to an audit report published in October by the SSA IG, “each year the [SSA’s Office of Public Services and Operations Support] develops a national listing of employers who submit 100 or more suspended wage items.”
This can be the road map for worksite enforcement.
But perhaps an even better map would be the October report itself, which lists by state—but not publicly by name—the 100 U.S. employers who filed the largest number of unmatchable W-2s between 1997-2001.
The No. 1 company on this list is based in Illinois. It filed 131,991 unmatchable W-2s over five years, reporting more than $524 million in wages paid to unknown taxpayers.
SSA believes current law prevents it, with certain exceptions, from naming such companies to DHS.
The law should be changed. DHS ought be given the manpower and mandate to find out if some of the U.S. employers filing large numbers of unmatchable W-2s are also creating a magnet that draws large numbers of illegal immigrants into the United States.