LatinaLista — This week’s Supreme Court decision to not charge undocumented immigrants with “aggravated identity theft” distinguishes between undocumented immigrants who use random false Social Security numbers for work purposes and criminals whose sole intent is to steal specific identities to rob unsuspecting people of their money or leave them holding the proverbial shopping bag as these thieves max out their victims’ credit cards.
Many critics of undocumented immigrants will not see the justice in this decision but it should be recognized that the Supreme Court would not have had to even render this judgment had it not been for the prior administration’s abuse of this specific law.
Last year, the Bush administration announced roundups of illegal immigrants at several workplaces. Most of those arrested were charged with possessing false documents and aggravated identity theft. For example, 389 workers were detained at a meat-packing plant in Iowa; two-thirds of them were charged with felony identity theft.
The federal strategy of threatening to charge people with a far more serious crime of aggravated identity theft achieved two goals: criminalized the immigrant which would make legal re-entry into the country practically impossible and if the undocumented worker was sufficiently intimidated by the prospect of going to jail, it meant that he/she accepted the government’s “generosity” in providing a speedy deportation.
It was a flagrant abuse of power that targeted the most defenseless people who reside in this country, regardless of legal status.
The Supreme Court ruling underscores that fact that there is a difference between real criminals and undocumented immigrants who just come to work. The ruling also signals that thankfully this nation is getting back to the roots of what made it great â€” using common sense.