America is the land of opportunity. Each year, waves of immigrants come to this country seeking out a better life for themselves and their families. To those who follow the rules and legally cross our borders, I admire them for their courage and determination. Unfortunately, many immigrants come here illegally and obtain fraudulent documentation such as “borrowed” social security numbers, fake birth certificates, or easily obtained drivers licenses so they can enter American job markets. Identity theft, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) own assertion, is a federal crime.
However, instead of the DOJ focusing on the massive number of cases of identity theft among illegal immigrants, the Department instead files lawsuits against states trying to ensure their employees are here legally. This latest DOJ suit against Arizona and its network of community colleges highlights this issue.
In this case, the DOJ filed suit on behalf of Zainul Singaporewalla, who filled out a federal form stating his permanent resident status and produced both a driver’s license and Social Security card. After filling out this information, he was told to complete additional documentation and provide his green card. When he couldn’t present his green card, the college did not process his paperwork and declined to hire him. In its suit, the DOJ contends that the colleges acted illegally by requiring non-citizens to provide their green cards before they could be hired. The DOJ points to the Immigration and Nationality Act which protects U.S. citizens and aliens authorized to accept employment in the U.S. from discrimination in hiring or discharge on the basis of national origin and citizenship status.
Fair enough – legal aliens should not be discriminated against just because they are foreigners. However, what I don’t get is how showing a green card would be discriminatory? Under the same INS guidelines, employers may only hire employees who can legally work in the U.S.
Requiring solid information proving your legal status to work in the United States would not be burdensome or difficult for legal immigrants and permanent residents to demonstrate. Requiring such documentation would only benefit those legally here while deterring those illegally here. Why punish immigrants who played by the rules and deter people from coming here legally by diluting the legal documentation requirements so low that they mean next to nothing? It’s time to put some integrity and common sense back into our employment and immigration standards so that legal immigrants have a fair chance to live the American dream.