A new law makes it a serious felony to use fake identification in order to obtain employment. Prior to the passing of this “aggravated identity theft” law, using a fake id for employment purposes would garner a fine and possibly probation. Now, however, violators could go to prison for 15 years and pay fines reaching $250,000.
While lawmakers say the law applies to everyone, it’s clearly targeted at illegal immigrants who have to use fake id’s to get work once they’ve arrived in the country. It may also snare parents avoiding child support payments and kids who want to get a job despite being too young, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Many are speaking up to protest the new law and the obscenely disproportionate penalties. “Not only does it not fit the crime, it’s absolutely anti-human rights,” says Teodoro Maus, the president of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights. Fifteen years behind bars for trying to work does seem quite extreme.
Supporters of the law say they hope it will serve as an eye opener to immigrants who are considering Georgia as their potential new home. One concerned citizen remarked, “The costs are astronomical for the healthcare they get, for education—not counting the court systems and clogging that up and causing all kinds of problems.”
Other, even more controversial laws targeting immigrants have been put on hold. One law would give police the authority to investigate immigration status and the other would allow the law to punish people who transport or harbor immigrants while committing another offense. While this fake id law is moving forward, it will likely face some challenges along the way.
At least for now, police aren’t sure how to handle it, whether they should investigate identifications or if the only way they will learn about potential cases is when employers report incidents to them. Most employers, however, will likely be leery of saying anything, since employing an illegal immigrant is a felony offense.
It isn’t clear how many illegal immigrants use the identity of another person when finding work and how many have their own information put on a fake id. What is known is that this form of “identity theft” doesn’t place a financial hardship on any victim like other cases where someone’s identity is used to defraud them.
It remains to be seen how often this new provision will be used and how it will be enforced. It also remains to be seen what, if any, effect the law will have on the immigrant population—if it will serve as the “eye opener” lawmakers are hoping for.
Identity theft in general is a serious felony offense. If you are charged with identity fraud or fraud of any kind, you want an advocate on your side that understands the local laws and how best to move forward with your case. Contact our offices today to discuss the details of your case and how we might be able to help.