Supreme Court: States can prosecute illegals who steal American IDs

by WorldTribune Staff, March 5, 2020

States have the authority to prosecute illegal immigrants who gain employment in the U.S. by stealing the identities of American citizens, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court ruled against three illegals who were prosecuted for stealing the Social Security numbers of American citizens so they could work in Kansas.

The ruling overturns a Kansas Supreme Court decision where the state’s justices claimed that because state and federal law overlap on the issue of federal immigration law and identity theft, states do not have the authority to prosecute such cases.

The Kansas case involved the prosecutions of three illegals — Ramiro Garcia, Donaldo Morales, and Guadalupe Ochoa-Lara — who stole the Social Security numbers of American citizens in order to illegally work in the state.

A 2018 investigation by the Immigration and Reform Law Institute (IRLI) discovered that there were potentially 39 million cases between 2012 to 2016 wherein American citizens had their identities stolen by illegals. The discovery was made after IRLI investigators reviewed W-2 tax forms where names on the financial records did not match their corresponding Social Security records.

Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch wrote in their majority opinion that states do have the authority to prosecute individuals for crimes that overlap with federal law.

Liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissented.

The Justices wrote in their majority opinion:

“The mere fact that state laws like the Kansas provisions at issue overlap to some degree with federal criminal provisions does not even begin to make a case for conflict preemption. From the beginning of our country, criminal law enforcement has been primarily a responsibility of the States, and that remains true today. In recent times, the reach of federal criminal law has expanded, and there are now many instances in which a prosecution for a particular course of conduct could be brought by either federal or state prosecutors. Our federal system would be turned upside down if we were to hold that federal criminal law preempts state law whenever they overlap, and there is no basis for inferring that federal criminal statutes preempt state laws whenever they overlap. Indeed, in the vast majority of cases where federal and state laws overlap, allowing the States to prosecute is entirely consistent with federal interests.”

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