IDs Sold To Illegal Immigrants

<B>Bob Simon</B> Reports On Illegal Immigrants Who Are Buying IDs To Work In America

The United States is currently undergoing the largest wave of immigration in over a century. But what makes this wave like no other is that so much of it is illegal.

There are approximately 11 million illegal immigrants now in the United States. That equals the population of Ohio. These immigrants are coming for jobs, of course. But to be hired by an American factory, they need documents.

So a black market of identities for sale has sprung up and has spread from the Southwest, where Hispanic immigrants used to settle, to places in the heartland, which will never be the same. Correspondent Bob Simon reports.

If you ever go out looking for the American heartland, when you get to Schuyler, Neb., you'll know you've found it.

The face of the land is unmistakably the wind-swept Plains of the Midwest. But increasingly, the faces of the people who live here are Hispanic.

Eighty percent of the first graders at Schuyler Grade School are Hispanic. But that wasn't always the case. Back in 1985, there wasn't a single Hispanic student at this school. Today, Schuyler is moving to a different beat – and that's fine with Schuyler's mayor, Dave Reinecke.

"What would you rather have, if you were living here in Schuyler?" asks Reinecke. "Would you rather have growth, or would you wanna pick and choose where they came from?"

This town of 5,000 is home to so many immigrants because of the Cargill Meatpacking Plant on the edge of town. Eighty percent of the plant's 2,100 workers are Hispanic. But this is not your typical story about making it in America.

Ivan Hernandez and Juan Marino of Mexico have worked at the plant under false identities. They can't show their faces because they're in the United States illegally. And, they say, they're hardly the only ones.

"I think 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, who adds that 40 percent of the workers at the Cargill plant are here illegally.

It's a number that is disputed by Mark Klein, Cargill's public relations officer. "I don't think it's possible," says Klein.

"How many would you estimate are what we call 'illegal immigrants?'" asks Simon.

"I have no reason to suspect that any of them are," says Klein.

To get a job with a company like Cargill, you need papers. 60 Minutes Wednesday sent two staffers - production assistant Ignacio Garcia, and cameraman Ray Bribiesca - to Nebraska to find a man known in Schuyler's Hispanic community for peddling documents.

Posing as illegal immigrants looking for work at the Cargill plant, Garcia and Bribiesca went undercover and found their man, bar owner Michael Cuba.

Garcia asked how much he'd have to pay for a Social Security card and a birth certificate. Cuba said the price was $1,300 for both. Garcia wanted to know if the Social Security card would be authentic. Cuba said yes. Then, Garcia and Bribiesca told Cuba they'd come back in 48 hours with the money.

Schuyler's police chief, Lenny Hiltner, knows that stolen identities are being sold around town. How? By the phone calls he gets all the time from angry Americans. "And that ranges from the city of Schuyler to Texas to California," says Hiltner. "Victims that have had their identity stolen, and have found that they're either wanted in Nebraska...."

"In other words, a guy sitting in a Texas finds out that he's wanted for a crime in Nebraska, then calls you, realizing that somebody has stolen his identity?" asks Simon.

"Correct," says Hiltner.

But illegal immigrants aren't just flocking to Nebraska. Go to almost any city in America today and you'll see them hanging out on street corners, waiting for employers to drive by and give them work.

Terry Anderson is an auto mechanic from South Central Los Angeles who found his true calling as the host of a one-issue talk show. The issue of his show is illegal immigration: "There are so many people that are angry about illegal immigration, the lack of enforcement, the numbers, the school system, the lack of entry level and skill jobs for American citizens, and American legal immigrants, that now this subject is just huge."