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Supreme Court Rules Against Government In Immigration Case

CaribWorldNews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Tues. May 5, 2009: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday sided with the defense in an immigration identity-theft case that overturned a previous ruling.

Supreme Court justices were unanimous in their 9-0 decision that federal prosecutors cannot also slap the crime of the identity theft on an undocumented immigrant. The justices ruled that the crime of identity theft is limited to those who knew they had stolen another person’s Social Security number.

It overturns part of an Illinois man’s conviction for using false documents. In the matter of Ignacio Flores-Figueroa vs. The United States, the court stated that the identity theft law refers to a person who `knowingly` uses the means of identification `of another person.`

Flores-Figueroa, a citizen of Mexico, allegedly had bought a set of false documents in Chicago and used them to work at a steel plant in East Moline, Ill. He was charged with entering the country illegally, using false documents and aggravated identity theft. Only the latter charge was at issue in the Supreme Court.

But justices agreed that the immigrant wanted to use a false Social Security number as though it was his, but he did not know or care whether it was a real person’s number.