HIDDEN CAMERA EXPOSES SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
BEING SOLD TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS -- ON "60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY"
For $1,300, two 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY staffers posing as illegal immigrants purchased real social security numbers and birth certificates in the U.S. black market. Correspondent Bob Simon's report on this new phenomenon and the hidden camera footage of a black market transaction will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY on April 20 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Hispanic immigrants are no longer just flocking to America's southwestern border towns, but are also settling in small towns in the heartland, like Schuyler, Neb., (pop: 5,000). Still, to get a legitimate job with an American company, one needs documents. 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY staffers Ignacio Garcia and Ray Bribiesca found a man known in Schuyler's Hispanic community for peddling real documents. Posing as illegal immigrants looking for work at the local Cargill meatpacking plant, Garcia and Bribiesca went undercover and found a bar owner in the nearby town of Fremont. Garcia asked how much he would have to pay for a real social security card and a birth certificate. The seller told him the price was $1,300 for both documents. 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY purchased the documents and returned them to their original owner, who is living in Puerto Rico.
Three million illegal immigrants come to American towns to work each year. Schuyler's immigrant population is significant, largely because the Cargill meatpacking plant on the edge of town employs 2,100 workers, of whom 80 percent is Hispanic. Ivan Hernandez works at Cargill, but not under that name because he is in the U.S. illegally. "�If the immigration services raided any of the meat plants in the area, I think all the plants would be left with practically no workers," says Hernandez.
John Torres, who works for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says stopping potential terrorist has become more important than stopping poor Mexican workers from getting into America. "Do we want to go out and arrest a kitchen worker or do we want to go out and arrest someone who is a visa overstay, who has a HAZMAT driver's license, who might actually have access to a nuclear power plant?" asks Torres.
To get his job at Cargill, Hernandez bought a social security card on the black market. He tells Simon how he got his job using the stolen social security number of a man in California. "Once I have an ID, I memorize the social security number, the birthdate on the birth certificate and the names of the parents, and when they called me for an interview, a friend had already told me what they would ask me and I got the job," says Hernandez.
How widespread is the buying and selling of identities? One indication may be that the 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY investigation found two different workers in two meatpacking plants in two different states, both using the same identity of a man in Puerto Rico. Until 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY found him and told him about it, he thought he was the only Ricardo Torres Camacho.
Jeff Fager is the executive producer of 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY and Draggan Mihailovich is the producer of this report.