NOVEMBER 14, 2008
A large public school district in Texas for years provided fake Social Security numbers to hire foreign employees even after being warned by a state agency to stop the illegal practice.
Officials running the Dallas Independent School District assigned hundreds of fake and stolen Social Security numbers to foreign citizens otherwise not qualified to work legally in the U.S. The practice was widespread in the urban school district, which is the nation’s 12th largest with an enrollment of about 160,000 students.
When the district’s investigative office received a tip earlier this year, it launched a probe and revealed that the district had ignored a stern warning from the Texas Education Agency to stop the illegal practice back in 2004. In a report obtained by a Dallas newspaper through a public records request, the district’s investigative agency says "that the inappropriate procedure of assigning false SSNs has been systemic for several years."
It was done mainly to expedite the hiring of much-needed bilingual teachers—mainly from Mexico and Spain—who didn’t possess traditional credentials or legal residency. Some of the numbers assigned were real Social Securities already given to people elsewhere. They were also used to run criminal background checks on new hires.
The bogus Social Security numbers were also entered on Department of Homeland Security and Internal Revenue Service forms, creating a potential national security threat. Ironically, the scheme was created to help curb a crisis caused by illegal immigrants who weigh down public school districts nationwide because they can’t speak English and need Spanish-speaking teachers.
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