A Mexican national is suspected of living and working in west-central Minnesota under a Texas resident’s name.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release they arrested this person Wednesday with help from the Perham Police Department.
The suspect had been living in Perham – it’s not known exactly how long – and according to Police Chief Jason Hoaby, working at a local food company. Hoaby and the department were made aware of the case when a Texas agency reached out.
A resident in the Texas city of Midland contacted their local PD about an identity theft complaint, Customs and Border Protection said. According to Hoaby, that Texas resident had been told they held a job 1,300 miles away in the frozen tundra of Minnesota.
That’s when the Perham PD got involved.
The suspect was arrested Wednesday. A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson told GoMN they are expected to be charged with entry without inspection.
Hoaby said police in Perham had never had contact with the individual otherwise, and as far as he’s heard, they didn’t do anything beyond using someone else’s identity to get a job. Hoaby added police run into fake ID reports fairly often, but he hasn’t had one quite like this.
The Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said the suspect was handed over to immigration authorities to be held.
More on identity theft and immigration
The New York Times wrote about this as far back as 2006, saying many times the victims don’t feel any direct financial pinch, but it can still have some longstanding consequences. On the flip side, this type of identity theft just to get employment “provides the backbone of some low-wage businesses and a boon to the Social Security trust fund,” the Times wrote.
The FTC says you can check this and catch some instances of employment-oriented identity theft using an online system called E-Verify. It was set up for employers to check government records, but you can also access it yourself.
The Guardian reported this week immigration arrests during the first three months of President Donald Trump’s administration eclipsed 40,000 – up sharply compared to the same time in 2016. The number arrested who had no criminal history otherwise more than doubled.
That said, deportations were down, NBC Connecticut points out,