/ October 20, 2008

Supreme Court To Hear Arguments On Identity Theft and Illegal Immigration

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Ignacio Flores-Figueroa, an illegal immigrant who used a fake ID to get a job at a plant in Illinois.  At issue is who has the burden of proof in showing whether an illegal immigrant knew his documents were stolen from real person. 


Lower courts in this case found that the DOJ need not prove an illegal immigrant knew a real person was being victimized.  The Eighth Circuit affirmed.  Flores-Figueroa was sentenced to six years in prison.  However, three other appellate courts ruled that the DOJ must show an illegal immigrant knew a real person was being victimized in order to convict on aggravated identity theft.

The Supreme Court will resolve this circuit split.  The statute in question (18 U.S.C. 1028A(a)(1)) states that anyone who knowingly uses another’s identification during the commission of a listed crime shall receive at least two years in prison.  The DOJ argues that an adverse ruling will all but completely erradicate its ability to prosecute immigrant identity theft because most illegal immigrants have no idea where fake paperwork comes from.  Others think that deporting illegal immigrants should be enough.

Source: Washington Post

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