Illegal, But Not Undocumented: Panel Explores Immigration, Employment, and Document Fraud

By CIS September 2009

Publications related to this panel:

WASHINGTON (September 29, 2009) -- Despite the euphemism "undocumented," illegal immigrants are anything but. About half of all working illegal aliens are on payroll tax forms, meaning they have fraudulently identified themselves in some way. Federal authorities would often use such document crimes to facilitate the arrest, detention, and deportation of illegal aliens. However, a Supreme Court decision earlier this year severely limited federal authorities' ability to charge illegal aliens with identity theft.

To examine these issues, the Center for Immigration Studies hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday, September 29, at 9:30 a.m. in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club, 14th & F streets NW, in Washington, D.C. The starting point for discussion was a CIS Backgrounder entitled, "Illegal, but Not Undocumented: Identity Theft, Document Fraud, and Illegal Employment," authored by one of the panelists, Ronald W. Mortensen. Continuing the discussion will be Janice Kephart, who will be reporting on her upcoming paper, "Assuring Adequate Penalties for Identity Theft and Fraud," which proposes revised statutory language and an analysis of identity theft cases.

Panelists included:

Ronald W. Mortensen - A retired career U.S. Foreign Service Officer, former senior executive at the Society for Human Resource Management, and author of, "Illegal, but Not Undocumented: Identity Theft, Document Fraud, and Illegal Employment."

Janice Kephart - Director of National Security Policy at the Center for Immigration Studies and an internationally recognized border and ID security expert who served as counsel to the 9/11 Commission and co-authored the Commission staff monograph 9/11 and Terrorist Travel.

Stewart A. Baker - Former DHS Assistant Secretary for Policy, now a partner at Steptoe & Johnson. At DHS, he was responsible for policy analysis across the department and all identity-related programs, as well as for the department's international affairs, strategic planning, and relationships with law enforcement and public advisory committees.

Moderator: Mark Krikorian - Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.