"Charity is commendable, everyone should be charitable. But Justice aims to create a social order in which, if individuals choose not to be charitable, people still don't go hungry, unschooled or sick without care. Charity depends on the vicissitudes of whim and personal wealth, justice depends on commitment instead of circumstance.
Faith-based charity provides crumbs from the table; faith-based justice offers a place at the table"
~Bill Moyers

Monday, May 4, 2009

Supreme Court rules against government in immigration identity-theft case

"In a 9-0 decision, the justices say the crime is limited to those who knew they had stolen another person's Social Security number. The decision limits efforts to prosecute illegal workers."
It was about time the US Supreme Court Ruled on this harmful issue which has been used so maliciously and has caused so much harm.
And this brings so many different angles, least of it is how workers who are undocumented and have forged documents will be considered if and when, there is an Immigration Reform Proposal, on the 2007 STRIVE ACT there was a clause where people who committed a crime were not eligible for legalization, this posed the reality that since in order to survive by working, undocumented immigrants had to procure some type of documents to have a chance at being hired - and so many did, I'd venture that the number is in the millions that would be automatically excluded for consideration and if things don't change, summarily deported and bringing terror and anguish to their families - the separation of families - the violation to the constitutional rights of US born children with undocumented parent/s, the list is so long.
Judge Michael Bennett: using false identity results in no deportation order "I'm sure there are hundreds or thousands of U.S. citizens in prisons for purchasing birth certificates of those who died as children, assuming their identities, and then obtaining other identity documents such as SSN cards and passports. However, I guess there were "mitigating circumstances" in this case:" August 2007
Identity Theft carries a mandatory 2 year prison sentence when in the commission of a felony
"TASHIMA, Senior Circuit Judge. Defendant-Appellant Cori A. Godin challenges her conviction for aggravated identity theft under 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1). The statute adds a mandatory two-year term of imprisonment to that otherwise provided for certain enumerated felonies if, “during and in relation to” the felony, the perpetrator “knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person.” 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(a)(1). The question before this court is how far the “knowingly” mens rea requirement extends. [ Find Law ]"
At present, I don't have the 'Statutory Construction' for simply using false documents or ID, that is, without the commission of a felony and "being in this country without papers is a civil violation, not a crime" as Joshua Holland, at AlterNet says when asking this question "Could Anti-Immigrant Bloggers Be Any More Ignorant?"
In any event, this is was good day for Judicial Jurisprudence, for the millions who are trying to survive and, possibly, have a chance at a better future for them and their families and above all, for Society as a whole because how we threat the less fortunate than us, speaks volumes as to who and what we are.

By David G. Savage 9:20 AM PDT, May 4, 2009
Reporting Form Washington -- The Supreme Court today took away one tool for prosecuting and deporting workers who are in this country illegally, ruling that the crime of identity theft is limited to those who knew they had stolen another person's Social Security number.

The 9-0 decision overturns part of an Illinois man's conviction for using false documents.

The court agreed he could be imprisoned for using an ID card he knew was false, but it also said he could not be charged with a felony of "aggravated identity theft" because he did not know he was using someone's Social Security number.

Last year, immigration officials in the Bush administration had rounded up hundreds of illegal workers at several plants and charged them with "aggravated identity theft."

Facing such a serious charge, many agreed to plead guilty and be deported.

The lesser charge of using false documents is not a felony and does not trigger an automatic deportation.

In today's opinion in Flores-Figueroa vs. United States, the court cited the words of the identity theft law. It refers to a person who "knowingly" uses the means of identification "of another person."

During the oral argument in the case, the justices were told that about half of all the possible combinations of nine-digit Social Security numbers have been used at some time.

Ignacio Flores-Figueroa, a citizen of Mexico, said he had bought a set of false documents in Chicago and used them to work at a steel plant in East Moline, Ill. His employer later reported him to immigration authorities. He was charged with entering the country illegally, using false documents and aggravated identity theft. Only the latter charge was at issue in the Supreme Court.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer said that in most cases of identity theft, the defendant sets out to steal someone's identity so to take money from their accounts. In this case, the illegal immigrant wanted to use a false Social Security number as though it was his, but he did not know or care whether it was a real person's number.


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