SCOTUS: States Can Prosecute Illegal Aliens for Stealing American IDs

Identity Theft
Getty Images

States have the authority to prosecute illegal aliens for using stolen identities of American citizens to work illegally in the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

In a 5-4 decision — with liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissenting — the Supreme Court ruled against three illegal aliens who were prosecuted for stealing the identities of American citizens to work illegally in the state of Kansas.

Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch wrote in their majority opinion that states do have the authority to prosecute individuals for crimes that overlap with federal law.

The Justices wrote:

The mere fact that state laws like the Kansas provisions at issue overlap to some degree with federal criminal provisions does not even begin to make a case for conflict preemption. From the beginning of our country, criminal law enforcement has been primarily a responsibility of the States, and that remains true today. In recent times, the reach of federal criminal law has expanded, and there are now many instances in which a prosecution for a particular course of conduct could be brought by either federal or state prosecutors. Our federal system would be turned upside down if we were to hold that federal criminal law preempts state law whenever they overlap, and there is no basis for inferring that federal criminal statutes preempt state laws whenever they overlap. Indeed, in the vast majority of cases where federal and state laws overlap, allowing the States to prosecute is entirely consistent with federal interests. [Emphasis added]

The ruling overturns a Kansas Supreme Court decision where justices claimed that because state and federal law overlap on the issue of federal immigration law and identity theft, states do not have the authority to prosecute such cases.

At hand were the prosecutions of three illegal aliens — Ramiro Garcia, Donaldo Morales, and Guadalupe Ochoa-Lara — who stole the identities of American citizens by taking their Social Security Numbers in order to illegally work in the state of Kansas against federal law.

A 2018 investigation by the Immigration and Reform Law Institute (IRLI) discovered that there have been potentially 39 million cases between 2012 to 2016 wherein American citizens have had their identities stolen by illegal aliens.

The discovery was made after IRLI investigators reviewed W-2 tax forms where names on the financial records did not match their corresponding Social Security records.

The case is Kansas v. Ramiro Garcia Docket No. 17-834 in the U.S. Supreme Court.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.