April 15, 2008

It Doesn't Count If You Don't Count

Monique Chartier

The newest addition to the list of "reasons" that the Governor's Executive Order and various legislative initiatives on illegal immigration should not be undertaken is that the actual number of undocumented immigrants in the state is unknown. Mr. Jaime Aguayo of the Governor's Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs made such an argument yesterday morning on WHJJ's Helen Glover Show. He further repeated his statement from the press conference Friday that he and other members of that advisory commission would step down if the Governor did not continue to meet with them on this issue.

Inasmuch as no one contends that the number of undocumented immigrants in the state is zero, the limited measures outlined by the Governor's Executive Order would seem reasonable in all senses of the word. Setting that aside for a moment, however, a suggestion and a question pose themselves from Mr. Aguayo's remarks this morning.

Press conferences are fun but facts are more substantive and a better addition to any conversation. It would seem to be both productive and in keeping with the nature of an advisory commission for the Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs to assemble and bring forward some data on the question which a member of the Commission himself raised; namely, the number of undocumented immigrants present in the state.

And the question raised is actually for everyone who believes that no action should be taken on the state level until the presence of undocumented immigrants in the state is specifically quantified. At what number, below what threshold should the Governor's Executive Order not be implemented and new laws not be passed?

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In the Governor’s Executive Order 08-01, dated; March 27, 2008 so stated in writing by Governor Donald L. Carcieri;

“WHEREAS, Congress and the President have been unable to resolve the problem of illegal immigration, leaving the states to deal with the consequences of 11 to 20 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States, the number in Rhode Island being between 20,000 and 40,000, more than the population of 32 of Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns; and”

If the above is true documentation then why aren’t these individuals rounded up and sent back to where they came and allowed back in through legal process (if you can count them then you know where they are)? The number between 20,000 and 40,000 doesn’t dent the current Rhode Island structural budget deficit of $600 million and growing (actually $90 million plus was trying to put 17 year olds in ACI to save money).

From my perspective, one of the major documented problems with Governor Donald L. Carcieri’s executive Order 08-01 is the directive requirement to use a person’s private “federally owned social security number” and public law suit liability not only directly to the Governor but also to the State of Rhode Island, Rhode Island State Police, Rhode Island Department of Administration, Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles, Rhode Island Department of Corrections, Department of Homeland Security and the local business that comply with the executive order.

Also the request of Homeland Security to gain unrestricted access to the state of Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles records without permission as required by the Drivers Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2721 et. seq. (Public Law 103-322). Under the law, the State of Rhode Island must ask permission of the driver to release information. The unrestricted access without “individual’s permission” opens Rhode Island to law suits (watch for another check off box on DMV renewal forms.)

Contrary to the State of Rhode Island executive order, the Federal Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a and the Social Security Administration restrict use of social security numbers.

The Social Security Number (SSN) was created in 1936 as a nine-digit account number assigned by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for the purpose of administering the Social Security laws. SSNs were first intended for use exclusively by the federal government as a means of tracking earnings to determine the amount of Social Security taxes to credit to each worker's account. Over time, however, SSNs were permitted to be used for purposes unrelated to the administration of the Social Security system. For example, in 1961 Congress authorized the Internal Revenue Service to use SSNs as taxpayer identification numbers.

In response to growing concerns over the accumulation of massive amounts of personal information, Congress passed the Privacy Act of 1974. Among other things, this Act makes it unlawful for a governmental agency to deny a right, benefit, or privilege merely because the individual refuses to disclose his SSN.

Section 7 of the Privacy Act further provides that any agency requesting an individual to disclose his SSN must "inform that individual whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory authority such number is solicited, and what uses will be made of it." At the time of its enactment, Congress recognized the dangers of widespread use of SSNs as universal identifiers. In its report supporting the adoption of this provision, the Senate Committee stated that the widespread use of SSNs as universal identifiers in the public and private sectors is "one of the most serious manifestations of privacy concerns in the Nation." Short of prohibiting the use of the SSN outright, the provision in the Privacy Act attempts to limit the use of the number to only those purposes where there is clear legal authority to collect the SSN. It was hoped that citizens, fully informed where the disclosure was not required by law and facing no loss of opportunity in failing to provide the SSN, would be unlikely to provide an SSN and institutions would not pursue the SSN as a form of identification
Penalties for Violating the Federal Privacy Act of 1974: Civil Remedies
The Privacy Act provides for both civil and criminal penalties for violating certain sections. If an agency refuses to amend an individual's record upon request, the individual can sue in civil court to have the record amended. In this case, the court can also award the individual reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation costs, to be paid by the United States.

If an agency refuses to allow an individual access to his records as required in subsection (d)(1), the individual can sue in civil court to have the records produced. The court that decides this suit will have the ability to review the records "in camera" (privately) to see if the agency has properly claimed one of the exemptions allowed to them. The court can also make the United States pay for reasonable attorney's fees.

If an agency has violated any other section of the Privacy Act, and a court finds that the violation is "intentional or willful," the court can make the United States pay to the individual actual damages suffered as a result of the violation (but in no case shall a person entitled to recovery receive less than the sum of $1,000), along with costs and reasonable attorney's fees.

Penalties for Violating the Privacy Act: Criminal Penalties
If any officer or employee of a government agency knowingly and willfully discloses personally identifiable information will be found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined a maximum of $5,000. Also, if any agency employee or official willfully maintains a system of records without disclosing its existence and relevant details as specified above can be fined a maximum of $5,000. The same misdemeanor penalty (and $5,000
maximum fine) can be applied to anyone who knowingly and willfully requests an individual's record from an agency under false pretenses.

PLEASE BE ADVISED TERM “AGENCY” MEANS AN AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT such as Homeland Security not the State of Rhode Island however, civil suit may go forward for violations by the State of Rhode Island and private business knowingly violating federal law and possibly under State of Rhode Island General Law 11-49.2-1. "Rhode Island Identity Theft Protection Act of 2005."

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) "E-Verify" program has been cited for returning a very high percentage of false identifications. Currently the agency will require more than 200,000 federal contractors to use E-Verify, an increase of more than 1,076 percent over the 17,000 employers currently registered in E-Verify. The system will use an "enhanced photograph capability" that will allow employers to check photographs in E-Verify databases. DHS will expand the number of databases E-Verify checks to include visa and passport databases; and the agency is asking states to "voluntarily" allow DHS access to their motor vehicle databases. DHS will require employers to fire employees if they were unable to resolve "no match" discrepancies within 90 days. If the employers do not terminate the workers' employment, the businesses would face fines of $11,000 or more. DHS also will raise fines against employers by 25 percent and increasingly use criminal action against employers, as opposed to administrative action.
So if you change jobs in the future, you must under go screening by the DHS and if a false “no match” is returned by using “YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER” you will be fired within 90 days if YOU can not clear what the computer and database information is reporting and may be subject to deportation to whatever country the system indicated..

One other thing that stands out about “E-Verify”, security of the information in electronic transfer and storage appears not to meet the minimum security requirements as dictated by federal law for protection of SSNs especially at the network, local non-federal government and local business end thus making sensitive information subject to tampering, partial or full loss and manipulation.

This is Rhode Island at its best!

Posted by: Ken at April 15, 2008 1:00 AM

And your point is...

If you're waiting for a perfect system, you'll be waiting an awfully long time. Doing nothing is no longer an option.

I have a beef with the combative tone of Mr. Aguayo's remarks, specifically "...he and other members of that advisory commission would step down if the Governor did not continue to meet with them on this issue."

Essentially, he's making a veiled threat of potential resignation, based on no information whatsoever about whether or not the governor would be willing to meet with them in the future. I would have no reason to believe that the governor doesn't want to meet with them going forward, so it seems completely unnecessary and frankly a little bizarre to make a threat like that, unless they have ulterior motives (or are receiving pressure from other quarters to find an excuse to resign from that commission). It makes them look petty.

If you're trying to build bridges, you don't immediately threaten to burn the bridge down if you think you might not get your way. On it's face, it's disrespectful to the governor to threat to resign from a commission based on something that has not happened, has not even been mentioned as something that could happen, nor which is even likely to happen in the future.

Posted by: Will at April 15, 2008 1:41 AM


My point is; if you make an executive order to enforce current (enacted and proposed) federal, state laws or memorandum of Agreements (MOA) or Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) especially where Federal and State Law are working in concert, you better have legal advisement (checks and balances) in place to make sure your written words are proper and no mud is thrown in you face.

An illegal immigrant is an illegal immigrant! The illegal immigrant violated our laws and goes back to home country (No matter what ethnicity they are or color)! But if an illegal immigrant can legally challenge the law or directive all is lost.

DON'T try to create laws, directives or system that make this country look like it doesn’t know what its doing (quick fix). When a questionable law or creative directive is created without total legal research and that directive or law can be legally challenged in courts it makes all of us look bad ESPECIALLY WHEN IT ENTANGLES NATURAL AND LEGAL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES.

I’m not practically interested in he said; she said Will; we all know the Governor does not ask for opinions outside core advisors. What I’m interested in is the knee jerk Smith Hill executive and legislative reactions which will have long lasting impact on the State of Rhode Island, its people and, tourist and poll rankings which all legal citizens ultimately pay the price.

Posted by: Ken at April 15, 2008 2:39 AM


The hysterical reaction from these so called latino/hispanic leaders speak volumes about the large numbers of illegals here in Rhode Island. Imo 40,000 is low balling it. Happen to hear Dan Yorke yesterday? The illegal alien playbook was exposed on Newsmakers by none other than Progreso Latino. Mr. Ordonez spilled the beans when stating the real reason they want these illegals recognized is so they can legitimately plug into the taxpayer funded social services honey pot.
Just like Ellis Island right Ordonez? lol
Keep that nugget of honesty close by as you laugh out loud at these same so called leaders when claiming these illegals are just like America's past 'immigrants'. Don't think for a second there aren't lots and lots of illegals pulling benes under false pretenses already. Remember our illegal friend and her phony drivers license scam at DMV?


This clown group was crying about not being consulted prior to the governor's order. They wanted a heads-up so they could have planned a mass demonstration prior to the Executive order. Of course that mass demonstration would have come after these very same groups accused the governor of being a bigot by only singling out the hispanic/latino communities for consultation on illegal aliens. The governor is in a no win situation with these illegal alien advocacy groups and should spend little time dealing with the unreasonable. We have much more pressing matters in this state than ass-kissing those pimping on illegal aliens for their own empowerment.


Life isn't perfect! Same for the E-verfify system. But we must start somewhere. Amusing how some worry about Privacy rights as our national sovereignty goes down the drain via our open and unregulated borders.

Posted by: Tim at April 15, 2008 7:38 AM


The governor and his staff consulted other states and patterned the Executive Order based on what those states are currently doing. Obvioulsy the governor can only apply this EO to areas under Executive branch control. Some elements have already faced and survived legal challenge in other places. They certainly did not fly blind in crafting the EO. They just didn't consult the illegal alien industry prior to.

Posted by: Tim at April 15, 2008 7:47 AM

Today, I will probably exceed the speed limit driving to work. It would be improper for a cop to stop me because cops don't know how many people speed.

Today, I'll write a check to Uncle Sam and the State. Or not. If I don't, it would be improper for the IRS to prosecute me, because they don't know how many other people choose not to pay taxes.

What a fun game.

Posted by: chuckR at April 15, 2008 7:54 AM

Very good, ChuckR.

"Mr. Ordonez spilled the beans when stating the real reason they want these illegals recognized is so they can legitimately plug into the taxpayer funded social services"

Great questioning by Arlene; thanks to Dan Y for talking about it. We can get around this - just legalize everyone immediately and retroactively!

Posted by: Monique at April 15, 2008 8:08 AM

I think the government should continue to do nothing about the illegal alien crisis in America.

And I think that level of inaction should be considered when dealing with those who, being no longer able to abide, will eventually choose to take up arms against their invaders. It won't be murder. It will be 'undocumented hunting'.

It's already beginning on the southern border. They are coming across the border well-armed and ill-intended. Drug runners and gang bangers and rapists and child molesters and disease spreaders. And maybe the occasional terrorist sleeper cell. It's irresponsible for citizens and sit back and allow this to continue. And if the government will not take action then the people must.

So, the choices are such. Allow governors and governments to do SOMETHING to stop this illegal invasion, or prepare for the bloodshed in the streets when the people finally say ENOUGH! and take action themselves.

Harsh? Yes. True? Yes.

Posted by: Greg at April 15, 2008 8:35 AM

"Oh, the black folks hate the white folks and the white folks hate the black folks, all of my folks hate all of your folks. It's as American as apple pie."
Tom Lehrer

Posted by: Anonymous at April 15, 2008 11:30 PM

#1: Not all of us, Anonymous.

#2: No, this is not about racism. Our immigration laws, as well as the Governor's E.O., apply across the board.

Posted by: Monique at April 16, 2008 6:51 AM

"apply across the board" is just like saying that the rope doesn't care who it hangs, it's just happens to be put on the neck of the poor more than the rich and on the black man more than the white man.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at April 16, 2008 12:57 PM
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