The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case on whether states can prosecute illegal aliens for identity theft. Kansas recently convicted three illegal aliens for identity theft, for using stolen Social Security numbers in order to obtain work.
The state Supreme Court, struck the convictions, saying that only the federal government can prosecute them for identity theft, even though they use those IDs to defraud the states. This means at least 4 justices voted to take the case. They would not do that if they agreed with the Kansas Supreme Court.
They will hear the case during the next session, which begins in October.
“I am encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear our appeal,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican, said in a statement. “We remain convinced Congress did not intend to block Kansas from prosecuting defendants for falsifying state tax forms or private legal documents merely because the defendant also falsified federal employment verification forms.”
The case involves three foreign nationals — Ramiro Garcia, Donaldo Morales and Guadalupe Ochoa-Lara — who entered the country illegally. The trio used stolen Social Security numbers when applying for work in the service industry. All three were convicted of identity theft in Kansas courts.
Those convictions were reversed on appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court. A four-justice majority said that a federal statute called the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) prohibits states from pursuing such prosecutions. The Kansas court held that IRCA gives the federal government exclusive power to bring prosecutions that use information from the I-9, a federal form used to confirm employment eligibility. Social Security numbers are included on the I-9.