A new way to pay for the border wall

Article author: 
Jan C. Ting
Article publisher: 
Washington Times
Article date: 
4 May 2018
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

... The president is not out of options, however. For instance, instead of making Mexico pay for the wall, he can make Mexicans pay for it instead.

Ever since the Social Security Administration (SSA) was created in 1935, it has maintained a so-called Earnings Suspense File (ESF), which holds unallocated funds collected from workers whose Social Security numbers don’t match with the name listed in the SSA’s database. These so-called “mismatches” can happen, for instance, when an employer incorrectly records a Social Security number on a worker’s W-2 form or when a newly married woman fails to report her name-change to the SSA.

But by far the biggest cause is believed to be illegal immigration, specifically when an illegal alien steals or acquires a stolen or counterfeit Social Security number in order to obtain above-the-table work in the U.S. The Earnings Suspense File’s balance started seeing a big uptick in the 1970s when illegal immigration began to accelerate...Today, the account stands at a whopping 1.2 trillion dollars.

In 1979 the Social Security Administration started a program of notifying employers, and through them employees, of the mismatch and the resulting frozen benefits. Although the “no-match letters” alerted some U.S. citizens and legal immigrants to correct errors in their Social Security accounts, the sending of “no-match letters” was recently ended so as not to discourage illegal aliens who had used counterfeit Social Security numbers from applying for President Obama’s 2012 DACA amnesty.

Illegal aliens, believed to be the major source of the problem and the major recipients of the letters, had little reason to respond and cooperate with the agency. Social Security number fraud is a serious felony, and they know they’ll never see the benefits anyway.

When an illegal alien purchases or steals a Social Security number through a counterfeit document, the American victim is perceived by the tax authorities to have income coming in they’re not actually reporting. This can lead to threatening letters and audits from the IRS and even the freezing of their disability or unemployment payments.

Further, resolving a stolen Social Security number has been estimated to cost the average victim $1,400 and years in time and effort. And if Social Security numbers are stolen from American children, because minors don’t normally use their Social Security numbers, the resulting fraud can continue for years before being discovered.

Instead of having Mexico pay for new fencing on our southern border, we could use the Earnings Suspense File funds to pay for theirs....