How Obama's 'DREAMers' Will Get Social Security Numbers and Become Legal Residents

A "glitch" in the system?

Cracks in our Social Security and immigration systems will mean that many of those granted administrative amnesty under President Obama’s executive enforcement of the DREAM Act will effectively be legal residents even though the clear language of the mandate says that they will be granted a work visa for two years.

That’s because along with the work visa, all the new DREAMers will be eligible for a permanent and fully functioning Social Security Number. With a social security number, one can get credit, a driver’s license in most states, and be eligible to work legally. While DREAMers will be identified clearly in their social security cards, many employers don’t require actually showing the card for identification purposes during the employment screening process.

Center for Immigration Studies policy analyst Jessica Vaughan said that in the absence of having a physical Social Security Card, it requires proactive verification on the part of most human resources department in order to identify DREAMers. In the past, most HR Departments were unlikely to do proactive investigation when presented with a legal and fully functional Social Security Number.

Mark Hinkle from the Press Office of the Social Security Administration, in an emailed statement, told Front Page Magazine that it is taking proactive steps to identify DREAMers on their Social Security Card.

The Social Security Act (section 205(c)(2)(B)(i)(I)) requires SSA to assign a Social Security number to work-authorized non-citizens, which does not make an individual eligible for any Federal or State benefit program, including Social Security retirement, disability or survivors benefits.  Noncitizens with temporary employment authorization have the following restrictive legend on their Social Security cards that reads: “VALID FOR WORK ONLY WITH DHS AUTHORIZATION.”  This legend has been used since 1992 (with reference to “INS” authorization prior to 2004).

While true, said Jessica Vaughan, this wouldn’t apply if DREAMers didn’t actually hand in a Social Security card when they started with a new employer. She said that the Social Security Card is normally just one of many forms of identification that a prospective employee can choose from that they must provide.

DREAMers have a functioning social security number. Only the physical social security card will reveal that that social security number is to be used temporarily, said Vaughan after reading SSA’s statement.

Vaughan said that the scarcely used E-Verify system would be able to flag DREAMers, but currently only about ten percent of employers use the system. E-Verify is a web-based system that compares the information on their prospective employees employment form to government data, including Social Security data.

President Obama has generally been resistant to fully implementing E-Verify while Mitt Romney has pledged to work until it’s 100% implemented.

The path is not completely clear for the DREAMers, however. They won’t be able to get driver’s licenses in all states. Arizona first took the lead, and since then Nebraska, Mississippi, and Texas have followed suit. All four states have banned new DREAMers from being eligible for state welfare benefits, food stamps, unemployment, and getting a driver’s license.

On June 15, 2012, President Obama used a Rose Garden speech to announce a new policy that effectively put into place administratively what he and congressional Democrats had failed to do legislatively his entire first term in office: make the DREAM Act a reality. By doing so, he gave temporary legal status along with two years of work authorization to millions of illegal aliens that came to the United States with their parents. The policy took full effect on August 15. It’s estimated as many as 1.7 million illegal aliens will be able to apply for the new program, called a "deferred action."

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