By now, most readers are probably aware of another senseless murder committed by an illegal alien who purportedly hails from Mexico. The facts are tragic: Mollie Tibbetts, a young woman about to enter her sophomore year of college goes out jogging, is stalked, and is ultimately murdered by the alien, identified in news reports as Cristhian Rivera.
The trail leads to Rivera (assuming that's his real name) in part because of a video camera capturing his car in the area where Tibbets disappeared. When questioned, Rivera confessed and led police to her body. It also came out during questioning that he is illegally in the United States, and this in turn led Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to file a detainer against him — purely as a safeguard, it should be noted, since in a case of this kind, the intent and desire is to permit state officials to prosecute for murder. The detainer is solely to take effective removal action, either if the prosecution case falls apart, or sometime in the far distant future after he has finished serving his sentence (assuming it isn't either capital punishment or life imprisonment).
Tracking this story, as with so many involving illegal aliens involved in horrendous crimes, is a little like following bread crumbs to the source. Many media outlets actively strive to avoid confronting, speaking about, or even asking, basic questions relating to an individual's immigration status these days because such cases call into question the narrative script that all immigration is an unbridled good, that sanctuary policies are right and just, that the border needs no physical barrier, and that ICE should be abolished. As a consequence, we only slowly, if ever, find out what the facts behind the matter really are.
As this story broke on public consciousness, attention focused on what Rivera had been doing during his illegal sojourn in the United States. It turns out he had been working at a local farm for four years. The farm, faced with embarrassment and pressure, defended its hiring practices at first by claiming that it had vetted him through E-Verify, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) system designed to confirm or reject the work eligibility of individuals seeking employment.
This revelation probably delighted many on the left, plus those on the right who unabashedly advocate for unrestrained use of alien agricultural labor, since they have long resisted the imposition of universal E-Verify. If it is established that E-Verify failed to screen Rivera out, it would be a powerful argument against making it mandatory on a national basis.
Unfortunately for those who might have been thinking about this, DHS apparently checked its system records and said "no it ain't so", leading the farm spokesperson to then correct herself and say that it was, instead, the Social Security Administration's SSNVS (Social Security number verification system) that the farm had used to check Rivera's right to work. That is entirely possible, and if so, what does it tell us?
First, irony of ironies, that E-Verify is generally the better system. The reason for this is simple: Many immigration documents are backed up with biometric data— fingerprints, photographs, signatures, and the like. Thus there is often a basis for being sure that the document presented relates to the person presenting it; not always, but often. Compare that to the American Social Security card, which is infamous for being devoid of biometrics, or even much biographic data. This is ostensibly because of fears that it would ultimately be used as a national identity card, but the fact remains that without such safeguards, it isn't much to work with when performing automated system checks on a person hundreds of miles away.
Second, it tells us that Rivera used an alias and stole someone's identity (his employers say they knew him by a different name). He was using a legitimate Social Security number belonging to a real person, quite possibly a native-born U.S. citizen of Hispanic origins, or perhaps a lawful resident. Working in reverse, then, he could have gone out on the open market and procured himself a second document known as a "breeder document", which, in combination with his bogus-but-facially-legitimate Social Security card, could be used to obtain a driver's license or non-driver state ID in the name of the person whose identity he stole.
Thus armed with the driver's license (or non-driver ID) and Social Security card, it would have been easy — apparently was — to present himself to the farm, get passed through SSNVS checks, and begin employment. So right now, we don't really know the murderer's real identity, or whether he has a criminal history somewhere else such as Mexico, if indeed he is Mexican. Perhaps the police or ICE do by now, but we don't.
Stop and consider the ramifications of what I'm saying. Repeat the scenario above tens of thousands of times all over the country, and you will see the size and depth of the problem of large-scale illegal immigration. It is supported by an underground marketplace of phony document sellers who specialize in selling any and all kinds of documents, including Social Security cards that could result in screwing up your Social Security account, or that of your kid, and you might not know it for a very long time.
Worse, the Social Security Administration has a policy of noncooperation with ICE. It refers nothing to that agency for investigation when suspicious mismatches do occur that might indicate misuse of Social Security accounts by illegal aliens, or of patterns suggesting that particular workplaces are engaged in the routine use of illegal labor supported by specious documents.
Now, most of the aliens working illegally will not end up engaged in violent crimes. But some will. And they have perfect protective coloration in the hodgepodge of stopgap systems in place at present. Plus, many misguided states and localities that have placed sanctuaries into effect, thus leaving alien criminals not only to return to the streets, but also to meander out of their "protected" jurisdiction and into others as well.
Stir in those ingredients, and then melt them into the large population of 11 or 12 million aliens also living illegally in our country, and you have the perfect recipe for a disaster of the type that has happened here.
We must ask ourselves two questions:
- Why hasn't Congress acted to make E-Verify universal?
- After another horrific crime such as the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, how can anyone either continue to argue in favor of sanctuary laws in any part of the United States or advocate the abolishment of ICE? It's just not rational.