The more than 100,000 illegal aliens who have been granted deferred action through DACA could now  be eligible to receive Social Security numbers.

Or not. No one is really sure, because Social Security Administration (SSA) officials are keeping their lips sealed.

According to a fact sheet SSA posted online for DACA applicants, “if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) grants you Deferred Action status and employment authorization, you may be eligible for a Social Security number.” (See SSA Fact Sheet, Sept. 10, 2012; emphasis added)

Aside from this, SSA has offered no further details to DACA applicants—or anyone else—on who specifically qualifies.

Even Members of Congress can’t get answers from SSA, despite being entitled to the information. In November, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) sent a letter to SSA with specific questions about their procedures. (Rep. Gingrey Letter, Nov. 14, 2012) Some of the questions included:

  • What criteria do you use to determine which approved DACA applicants will be awarded Social Security numbers?
  • Under what circumstances will an individual be denied a Social Security number?
  • How many DACA immigrants, to date, have received Social Security numbers?

More than a month later, Rep. Gingrey has yet to receive a response. In fact, the SSA requested two extensions. The first being December 14, which passed last week, and the second request was for an open-ended deadline—in other words, whenever the SSA felt like responding.

Nonetheless, Rep. Gingrey has stood firm on his quest for transparency on the DACA program. “The continued delay is unacceptable,” Rep. Gingrey said in a letter to SSA in response to the extension requests. “There are multiple questions you should be able to answer immediately.” (Rep. Gingrey Letter, Dec. 14, 2012)

If SSA has already started to hand out numbers to illegal aliens, there should be procedures in place that the Administration is following, making Rep. Gingrey’s letters a simple request for information that should not be complicated to send along.

So, why isn’t SSA answering immediately? Are they trying to hide this information from the American public? Or, equally as disconcerting, do they truly not know the answers to the questions? Has the SSA failed at cementing a clear, consistently-followed policy and record-keeping system? Hopefully this isn’t the case, but this also wouldn’t be the first time the government ran with the “leap before you look” strategy.

In either scenario, the SSA’s secrecy from the American people and elected officials is astounding. In President Obama’s own words, “transparency promotes accountability.” (See White House Transparency Memo, Jan. 21, 2009) Who is holding the SSA accountable?

Our government should not be in the business of doling out Social Security numbers to illegal aliens, period. In particular, it should not be doing so pursuant to a program President Obama created by mere executive fiat in direct defiance of federal immigration law.