Imagine a campaign in favor of the use of stolen Social Security numbers and fraudulent ID documents.
Crazy, impossible and “never happen” you say? Hardly. The shameless illegal alien lobby does it quite often. They frame it as a “civil-rights” issue and say they are defending “immigrants.” They hope you won’t know that immigrants who are in the USA lawfully have genuine Social Security numbers, real American IDs and no need for stolen or fake SSNs.
Imagine any elected official in Georgia ignoring the plight of jobless citizens.
Now, imagine being an allegedly conservative chief executive of an Atlanta-area county and not rushing to take advantage of an available no-cost tool called “IMAGE certification” that would expose the use of stolen Social Security numbers by workers paid with tax funds.
This is not impossible either. And you don’t need to just imagine. Despite what he has said about leading and managing, it is exactly what is happening right now here in Cobb County, Ga., with county boss Tim Lee. And perhaps with one or more of our district commissioners.
Maybe they have forgotten the multiple 2010 news reports of repeated revelations of illegal workers taking coveted taxpayer-funded construction jobs building the Cobb Court House. Or the fact that it happened so many times and became so embarrassing that the sheriff had to be called in with armed guards to check workers’ IDs at the entry to the Court House construction site.
Amazingly, the obvious and nearly fool-proof solution to such future scandals might not be used here in Cobb County. A change in county code to require contractors to simply apply to use the no-cost federal “IMAGE certification” tool to detect fake IDs and illegal workers on county jobs is not a sure thing.
And Tim Lee has flip-flopped on his promise to extend the IMAGE program from the BOC itself to county contractors.
Yes, last May the BOC cast a unanimous, bipartisan vote to sign an agreement with ICE to become IMAGE-compliant — which, again, mostly means they have allowed the feds to check the BOC’s hiring records for compliance with federal law and to sniff out bogus and stolen IDs used by workers at hiring — including stolen Social Security numbers.
At the May 2012 signing ceremony, Lee said “The IMAGE agreement will help prevent possible terrorist attacks and protect employees against discrimination based upon citizenship or natural origin.” And he was right.
“The message, if there is one, is that Cobb County takes its responsibility very seriously to make sure that everything possibly that could be done is being done to make sure the laws are being followed in our county, and to make sure there’s an opportunity for equal employment for those that deserve it,” Lee told this newspaper after that meeting.
By participating in the IMAGE program, companies can reduce unauthorized employment and the use of fraudulent identity documents.
As part of IMAGE, ICE and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will provide education and training on proper hiring procedures, and fraudulent document detection.
The ugly truth is that Tim Lee’s enthusiasm for rooting out black-market labor from the county-paid contractor workforce has waned. In a departure from his campaign promise, Lee now says that he is undecided on whether he will support the IMAGE requirement for contractors. How? He is using the endless and ever-dependable political goop “until examining any unintended consequences such as the cost of implementation to manage it and making us uncompetitive for new business.”
Imagine telling that to the Cobb’s unemployed and working poor who would love to look for a better life by having a public job now held by an illegal worker using a stolen Social Security number.
Passing the IMAGE ordinance sponsored by Commissioners Bob Ott and JoAnn Birrell shouldn’t be a difficult decision. The coming vote on this county policy will be long remembered.
The entire Cobb County Board of Commissioners has a clear choice here. Not all choices in life offer this clarity. Align with law-abiding voters — or with the counterfeit identification enthusiasts and the big money Chamber of Commerce.
It will be very educational to watch them pick a side.
There will be a hearing on the proposed policy at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Cobb Government Building on Marietta Square.
Pick a side.
D.A. King is president of the Cobb-based Dustin Inman Society and a nationally recognized authority on illegal immigration. Contact him at The Dustin Inman Society on Facebook.