Experience of DREAMers updating Social Security numbers

Now that DREAMers have been approved for Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and have their genuine SS#, if they have used a fake Social Security number at school, university, bank, IRS, or place of work, they have to figure out how to update that number in order to go on with their lives.  Reports on their experiences are starting to filter and so far it is a mixed bag.

High school, college or an educational institution:  While staff members are unable to change the information because the records are locked after graduation, current students have been able to change their number by lying to an employee (my parents made a mistake, parents gave my family member's number, I don't know what number you have because it is wrong, I have a new number because I was a victim of identity theft) who was either helpful or ignorant or was simply too kind knowing fully well that the DREAMer was an undocumented alien and needed help.

Banks, credit bureaus and credit cards companies:  Since these are private businesses, there is no standard procedure.  Some individuals have been able to do that over the phone while others have had to mail a copy of their Social Security card.  There are reports that some banks have refused to do so either by asking for more documentation or on suspicion of fraud.  Many DREAMers who have been unable to change their numbers have simply closed their accounts and moved their business to a new bank.  It has been somewhat easy to change the information with credit bureaus by those individuals who have had credit histories with made-up numbers.



Place of work:  In some offices it has been as easy as letting someone in Human Resources know the new number or by filling a new form, but in general, most DREAMers are not updating the number (by asking your employer to change your SSN you are screaming at the top of your voice that you lied on your I-9 the first time and thus committed perjury; it can be a huge problem if you also checked the box claiming to be a US citizen).  It is important to note that working with a stolen SS# after you have a real number is not only a criminal act, it creates a lot of complications in your records with the IRS.  This may present significant problems later on with taxes and applying for adjustment of status.

Mortgage and car loan companies:  Since the amounts involved are massive, particularly with home mortgages, the banks are extremely cautious and are giving a hard time to DREAMers.  It is important to remember that by law you are required to file taxes using your valid SSN and since that is what you will be doing, you will not be able to take advantage of mortgage interest deduction, if you itemize your deductions, because the number on your form 1098 mortgage interest statement will be different.

What are the implications?  In general it is safe to say every time you lie and create a paper trail, you are jeopardizing your future.  While these seem like minor issues, they can completely derail naturalization applications because good moral character is a must and this behavior documents a person with very poor moral character.