Case in point, immigration law and enforcement. For decades we have been addressing the issue of unauthorized immigration through a greater emphasis on crime control tactics. But as the structure of enforcement is tightened, it actually pushes many of those immigrants into behaviors that mimic, if they do not actually produce the harm of, crime.
A recent article by Anna Gorman in the LA Times, “Theft of Identity Compounds the Crime," profiles just such a dynamic. As a result of increasing pressure on businesses that hire illegal aliens, more employers are adopting the Department of Homeland Security's Basic Pilot program which enables them to quickly discover whether a social security number presented by an employee is valid. The tactic is forcing illegal immigrants who want to obtain jobs to purchase real social security numbers. While the immigrants do not generally intend to use that information to create credit card and other frauds, they are participating in a crime that often does produce just such a result and which is increasingly feared by consumers.
Thus the practices of illegal immigrants have moved from a victimless crime to one with real (even if unharmed) victims. The result will be demands for more enforcement against both illegal immigration and identity thefts.
"There is no will in this administration to enforce the law," said Rosemary Jenks, director of governmental relations for Numbers USA, an anti-illegal immigration group. "Every person who is working illegally has committed a crime because they have either used fake documents, stolen documents or they have made their own."