It's funny how two issues, seemingly unrelated, can all of a sudden fit together perfectly for an "aha" moment.
This is what recently happened to me.
First, there is the issue of undocumented workers. For the past few months, I've become increasingly disturbed by the comments and letters to the editor -- letters reeking of prejudice and hostility, letters lacking factual substance, or even constructive criticism. It has been frustrating because I believe in the basic goodness of people and have been feeling that the undocumented worker issue is a byproduct of an equal or greater problem.
Second, the issue of identity theft. We have recently been victims of identity theft. Our personal information, Social Security numbers, debit and credit cards, basically our entire credit report information, has been compromised. There are people "out there" who know everything about us, and they're trying to get credit with our information. In my attempt to remedy and prevent identity theft from affecting my family in the future, I came across some startling information. Somehow, it all makes sense. Identity theft is steeped in the politics of immigration and securely set on our side of the border.
My dear friend, Shirley, told me that all that is necessary for injustice to occur, is for good men to remain silent. Well, I'm not going to remain silent any longer because I have something very important to say.
When our government and our corporations require a nine-digit number in order to work and then send the message that they don't care where the number comes from or who it already belongs to, then aren't we, in essence, creating a system outside of the legal system with no rules, which clearly encourages the sharing of Social Security numbers, a document forgery cottage industry and ultimately produces identity theft?
Privacy laws prevent us from being given any information concerning the sharing of our Social Security numbers.
If somebody uses your Social Security number to buy a car or get a credit card, a new file is created, instead of alerting you. It is the privacy rules that prevent the dealerships and banks from warning the consumer. Isn't that twisted?
I believe as we hold our government accountable in regards to our personal information that the undocumented workers will be able to come into the light.
We've created this problem. The undocumented worker is clearly a victim of the system that we've allowed to exist since 1984. Until now, I've been naive to the role that identity theft plays in the politics of immigration. Clearly, we've seen that there's money to be made by our government and corporations looking the other way.
Michele Breen Simmons, Payson
Editor's note: This letter was shortened to fit within the Payson Roundup's 400-word limit for letters to the editor.