What are the compassionate yet practical solutions to deal with the growing problem of Illegal Immigration in California?
What makes the most sense when dealing with the issues surrounding DACA?
Immigrant Visa Programs
How should the Visa program be run?
Illegal Immigration, DACA, and Immigrant Visa Programs
Facts on illegal immigration: In 2017, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) estimated that approximately 12.5 million illegal aliens were living in the United States. This number is slightly higher than FAIR’s previous estimate of 12 million in 2011, after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducted a study on criminal aliens incarcerated in state jails and prisons. According to the GAO, approximately 227,600 illegal aliens were incarcerated in state jails and prisons in FY 2009—a 40 percent and 25 percent increase, respectively, in criminal-alien incarcerations in state jails and prisons since FY 2003. The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) partially reimburses states and localities for the cost of incarcerating unauthorized immigrants. It does not reimburse states and localities for the cost of incarcerating criminal aliens who are in the country legally. However, SCAAP does partially reimburse the incarcerating authority for two types of criminal aliens: SCAAP illegal aliens who DHS has definitively determined are in the country illegally, and SCAAP unknown aliens, for whom DHS is unable to find a record.
The safety of every American citizen should be the federal government’s number-one priority. Congress is empowered to establish laws for citizenship and naturalization. Americans have been deceived by consecutive administrations who have failed to safeguard its citizens.
Facts on Immigration Visas: Every fiscal year, approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are available to qualified applicants under the provisions of U.S. immigration law. Certain spouses and children may accompany or follow to join the employment-based immigrant(s). A temporary work visa (H-1B) allows someone to come to and work in the U.S. for a period of up to six years. There are two main categories of U.S. visas: Nonimmigrant visa, for temporary visits for tourism, business, work, visiting family, or studying; and immigrant visa, for those who plan to live in the United States. U.S. Immigration law states that you must obtain a visa / permit to enter the country for a specific reason and for a specified period of time.
Under pressure from Congress to improve tracking of foreign visitors, the Department of Homeland Security has produced its first partial estimate of those who overstay their permits to be in the U.S. Of the 45 million U.S. arrivals whose tourist or business visas expired in fiscal 2015, the agency estimates that about 416,500 people remained in the country. The nation with the most visitors who failed to leave at the end of their authorized stay was Canada, followed by Mexico and Brazil.
Why should the U.S. consider renewing or granting immigration protection for foreign visitors who broke the law by overstaying their deadline? They clearly have no respect for the law nor appreciation for being granted the right to work in the United States.
Facts on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): DACA has protected more than 800,000 young adults from deportation and allowed them to work legally inside the United States. To apply, participants are required to be at least 15 years old and to have been brought into the country before age 16. President Obama established the DACA program by executive action in 2012.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a memorandum rescinding the DACA program on Sept. 5, 2017. The program is being phased out over six months, ending March 5, 2018. Bipartisan legislation (S.1615 and H.R.3440), entitled the Dream Act of 2017, is pending in Congress. On Feb. 12, the U.S. Senate began considering HR2579, the vehicle for immigration legislation.
An estimated 690,000 immigrant youth have DACA status, originating from more than 25 different countries. The top 10 countries of origin are Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, South Korea, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and the Philippines. As of March 31, 2017, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has granted deferred status to 787,580 people under DACA. DACA applications in California top 424,995.
More than 25% of DACA participants are living in California, according to 2017 data from USCIS. Recipients are from all over the world, with about 80% from Mexico.
Younger undocumented immigrants who were eligible for Pres. Obama’s DACA amnesty program commit far more crimes than other immigrants or U.S. citizens. Prevention Research Center reported that immigrants age 15-35—the general demographic of the 700,000 in Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—commit crime at twice the rate of young U.S. citizens. (Bedard 2018)
Protecting our nation's borders—land, air, and sea—from the illegal entry of people, weapons, drugs, and contraband is vital to our homeland security and economic prosperity.
We need to empower Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to first deport those with serious criminal records, and second, to deport visa recipients who have failed to follow U.S. law by overstaying their visas.
Teaching our Kids
We've got to restore sanity to our educational system and focus on educating our kids.
Supporting our Teachers
Teachers need our respect, appreciation and most of all support.
Education in California
There’s no way around it. Regardless of your political affiliation, you have to face the fact that—by any reasonable standard—our public school system in California is absolutely failing our children.
According to California Facts (cafacts.org), 79% of low-income 5th graders aren’t proficient in math. (And in case you think this label only applies to a few students, 59% of California’s 6.2 million students are low-income.)
In the United States, California is currently ranked:
49th (Fourth grade reading scores for low-income students), and…
50th (Fourth grade math scores for low-income students).
(And California metrics for other achievement standards are similarly dismal.)
Let’s face it - this is pretty much the definition of “dead last.”
And yet… our spending per-pupil has been going up steadily over the past few years.
So… how did we get so lost in the weeds, and how do we find our way back?
Let’s look at a few major areas where I want to make changes. Changes that will benefit our students and the state as a whole…
The Role of Government.
Parents know best what the educational needs of their children are and how well their local schools are—or are not—meeting those needs. It is therefore imperative that educational policy and standards are determined by local and state government. Federal one-size-fits-all mandates are by definition incapable of meeting the local needs of our children… our future.
We need to support the greater flexibility, autonomy, and local authority provided by the bi-partisan Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015. But we need to be the ones making the spending decisions. Our local school districts need to spend money on education, not on federally-mandated programs, which are drafted by people (sometimes far away and sometimes non-teachers) who have no real knowledge of our specific educational needs here in California.
Yes, the federal government can help, primarily by funding infrastructure, educational research, and other enabling activities. (After all, it’s our money. California is among 13 states that ship more tax money to Washington than they get back in federal spending, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, a public policy think tank in Albany, N.Y.) But we must stop them from micro-managing our local governments when it comes to educational methods. As an example, Common Core has a number of good recommendations. But it goes too far when it attempts to mandate the actual method of instruction. It basically says, “We in Washington know better than your teachers—who are in the classroom with your children every day—when it comes to deciding exactly what and how to teach your children.”
It’s in our country’s best interest to promote parental choice and encourage involvement in their children’s education. Too often, low-performing schools are located in low-income communities. Public school choice gives parents the option of sending their child to the school that best suits their child’s needs. It also creates healthy competition among public schools so the local districts are motivated to be their best.
We need to support school vouchers. Many students—due to learning methods, areas of interest, school size, or other considerations—are best served by specialized private schools. These children deserve the chance to reach their full potential. Vouchers enable parents to give that chance to their children.
In short: We need to put an end to the idea that the federal government knows better than parents and teachers when it comes to deciding where and how our children are educated.
More Funding to the Classroom
No amount of funding—federal or otherwise—will help our students unless the money gets to the students. Our school system is top-heavy, with too much going to administration and not enough to school equipment and teacher salaries. Again, this is taxpayer money—we must demand that our government provide a better value for the funds we are already sending to Sacramento and to Washington.
Teachers are the lynchpin of our entire educational system, and they absolutely deserve fair pay for their work… this enables us to hire and retain the best teachers possible. But their promotion, pay, and retention should be based on merit, not just seniority. The best teachers should be rewarded and teachers who are not adequately educating our children should be incentivized to improve or should be replaced.
This is a vital issue, near the top of everyone’s mind—whether you currently have children in school or not—as we see the horrific results of a few deranged individuals seeking to wreak havoc on their peers through some misguided notion of revenge.
The first thing we need to do is stop intentionally making it easy for them.
Regardless of which side you’re on, the “gun control” issue won’t materially change the situation for years, if not decades. There are already over three-hundred million firearms in the U.S. (one for every man, woman, and child in the nation… or over two and a half per American household) and they aren’t going anywhere soon.
Yet we persist in making our schools the very softest of soft targets, going out of our way to declare them “gun-free zones.” What if there were armed security personnel (trained, certified, and professionally competent) on duty at our schools whenever there were students on campus? And what if it were widely known that these trained officers would meet any lethal threat to our children with immediate deadly force, following the “Active Shooter Protocols” now currently taught to our law enforcement officers? This would have an immediate deterring effect on an individual who would otherwise think he could just wander into a school and shoot whoever he wants with impunity (because we’ve told him there are no guns anywhere near the campus).
Additionally, we need to put in place a simple, no-guilt/immediate-action protocol whereby a teacher or councilor can alert the authorities if they witness threatening statements and/or behavior by a student… and the authorities will take mitigating actions.
These are simple, common sense precautions already in place at nuclear plants, airports, banks, casinos, and even select residential neighborhoods. Isn’t it time we gave the same level of security to our children?
Instead of “gun-free zones,” we need our schools to be “assault-free zones.”
Protecting Our Citizenry
What are the right choices when it comes to preventing school shootings?
How do we balance the right of all Americans to protect themselves with the growing need to keep guns from those that would break the law?
Fight Against Terrorism
How do we combat the ever increasing threats to our country from the scourge of Terrorism?
The Second Amendment—Balancing Rights with Safety
The issue of school safety—and the broader issue of gun rights in America—isn’t as simple as some would make it out to be.
The one-sentence soundbite answers—from either side—are likely to miss the reality of this complex situation. While I certainly don’t have all the answers, I do know that the solution starts with asking the right questions.
And the first question is: What’s changed?
I ask that question because we’re clearly missing something. School mass shootings of the size we’ve seen recently were rare occurrences until near the end of the 20th Century (Columbine happened in 1999). Yet purchasing a firearm (including high capacity semi-automatic carbines, erroneously called “assault rifles”) was less regulated in the 60’s/70’s/80’s than it is now. And gun ownership as a percentage of the U.S. population was at a higher level than it is now.
So if the issue were simply the availability of firearms, we would have fewer school shootings now than we did then. But the opposite is true. So again we must ask: What’s changed?
Sometimes the first step toward a solution is a clearer definition of the problem. Saying “we have more school shootings so the answer is to restrict guns” is ducking the issue. The real issue is that bringing a weapon to school and harming as many people as possible is now looked upon by a small percentage of the student population as an acceptable way to “get back” at other students or faculty if they feel they have been bullied, outcast, ignored, disenfranchised, or mistreated by them. It has the bonus of coming with instant fame for the shooter—both through the mainstream media and on social media.
The obvious example of this is the fact that the massive media coverage of Columbine inspired a large number of similar shootings. An ABC News report stated that “at least 17 attacks and another 36 alleged plots or serious threats against schools since the assault on Columbine can be tied to the 1999 massacre.” Many times the perpetrators of Columbine were explicitly referenced (by name) by the perpetrators of more recent school shootings. One of the worst legacies of Columbine is that many of us know the names of the two who committed this atrocity, yet almost none of us know the names of the victims. Such are the priorities of our media in the 21st Century.
We, as a culture, must stop glorifying these criminals and stop plastering their names and faces all over the media—giving them national attention and making the act seem even more attractive to other mentally ill, disaffected youth.
And if we were to look for a commonality among the perpetrators of school shootings, it wouldn’t be an attraction to firearms as much as it would be mental illness. Reports show that Adam Lanza (massacred more than two dozen people in Newtown, Conn., in 2012) had Asperger Syndrome. Reports also state that Nikolas Cruz (most recent Florida high school shooting that killed 17) struggled with depression and had problems developing social skills. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (killed 13 people and wounded 24 others with firearms and knives at Columbine) had been bullied and prescribed antidepressants and expressed anger toward the "popular" people in their high school. (According to a recent piece in the Los Angeles Times, at least 59% of the 185 public mass shootings that took place in the United States from 1900 through 2017 were carried out by people who had either been diagnosed with a mental disorder or demonstrated signs of serious mental illness prior to the attack.)
How will passing hastily drafted band-aid legislation address these mental health issues? It won’t. Currently our legislators want to focus more on controlling the procurement of guns than on looking to the root cause. History has shown us that preventing access to a firearm will not stop someone intent on committing harm. Until we address the real underlying issues of mental health, these types of atrocities will continue.
I support increased federal funding and increased mental health block grants for cities and states aimed at identifying, addressing and treating mental health issues. I also support legislation aimed at preventing criminals from acquiring weapons, along with more robust background checks to aid in this.
However, none of these actions alone will stop the problem. Back to our original question: What’s changed? The answer is that our culture has changed. And until we stop the pattern of neglect and the denial of basic humanity toward our neighbors, mass killings—with a firearm or any other weapon of the killer’s choice—will continue.
Highways, Roads, Bridges, Public Transportation...
Our country's infrastructure/framework has deteriorated beyond belief. Some states are worse than other. Unfortunately for us, California is near the top of list for states suffering from complete ineptitude and corruption when it comes to maintaining our highways, roads, bridges, public transportation etc.
America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
A country with a weakened infrastructure is like a person with advanced osteoporosis—they may look fine on the outside, but inside they’re just a stumble away from an ambulance ride to the ER.
And the truly sad part is, it didn’t used to be this way…
The Empire State Building was built—bottom to top—in under 14 months. During the worst depression this country has ever had. And the Pentagon—one of the world’s largest office buildings, holding over 25,000 workers—took only 16 months. During the middle of WW-II.
More recently, after the Northridge earthquake in 1994 Governor Pete Wilson slashed through the usual red tape and had the Santa Monica Freeway repaired and open within three months… when all the “experts” assured him it couldn’t be done in less than two years.
These days it’s not uncommon for similar-sized projects to take a decade or more… for just the permitting process. Add in environmental assessments, reviews, and litigations (designed to do nothing but prevent or delay much-needed improvements for political reasons) and it’s no wonder that—while we may look strong and robust on the outside—inside we have the crumbling bones of a calcium-deficient geriatric patient.
But the good news is, we don’t have to continue this way.
What can we do about it…?
We can take advantage of the unique opportunity to partner with the federal government and capitalize on the nation-wide infrastructure rebuilding plan being enacted by the new administration in Washington. Part of that plan includes an investment of $200 billion in federal funding (leading to approx. $1.5 trillion in total investment at the state, local, and private level). And even better, much of the decision-making around these investments will be returned to state and local governments. Along with this, the infrastructure plan will also eliminate the usual regulatory barriers which have previously prevented most infrastructure projects from being completed efficiently (i.e. on time and under budget—a rare thing in California these days).
Taking all the above in consideration, we need representatives in Washington who will work to accomplish what we—the residents of the 15th district—feel is most important for us. As your elected representative, I will work to secure funding to accomplish the following improvements:
- Relieving congestion in the 15th District: Highways 680, 880, and 238.
- Creation of a BART extension to Livermore and the Central Valley.
- Expanding our vital water supplies. (Lest we forget, water = food and jobs.)
- Improving our highway interchanges.
- Improving and upgrading our electrical grid.
- Working to cut the permitting process and repeal outdated regulations.
We need to take a fresh look at California regulations that benefit no one but bureaucrats and result in slow approvals for projects that would strengthen California's economy and way of life. It’s no secret our infrastructure is falling behind because of the failure to update and maintain systems that were built and implemented 50 years ago. Our economic success depends on the efficiency and quality of our transportation, water, and energy systems.
If elected, one of my top priorities will be to secure the necessary funding and regulatory reform necessary to bring California’s infrastructure up-to-date. After all, California now has the 6th largest economy on the planet. Isn’t it time we took steps to ensure that it also has a robust and reliable infrastructure worthy of its economic prowess?
The government doesn’t make a dime of its own money - it all comes from the taxpayer.
We’re so used to being “top dog” in the world many Americans can’t conceive of the USA as a semi-failed-state like Greece.
A broke nation is an unsecured nation.
Our nation’s total national debt currently stands at $20.5 trillion dollars, which is slightly larger than the entire economy of the United States at 106% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Worse, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) expects that twenty trillion figure to increase by 50% to thirty trillion within just ten years.
In case anyone thinks this is “business as usual,” outgoing Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen—hardly known for hyperbole—had this to say about the situation to Congress last November: “It’s the type of thing that should keep people awake at night.”
In order to fix this situation, everything needs to be “on the table.” No sacred cows, no special pork, no privileged entitlements. We need to look at every single aspect of federal spending (do we really need to be giving these particular taxpayer funds away?) and every aspect of the federal tax code (is there any possible way to close this particular loophole?) in order to achieve deficit reduction.
The federal government needs to set and achieve a clear fiscal goal of placing the debt on a clear and sustainable downward path for the long term. There are three fundamental reasons for this:
1. Solvency. There’s really no such thing as “federal funds.” The government doesn’t make a dime of their own money. It’s all taxpayer money. Your money. My money. The money of every American who pays (or has paid) taxes during his or her life. Yet the government goes through it like no one had to work long, hard hours for it. They give it away every election cycle like Santa Claus in an attempt to buy votes from short-sighted constituents who only care about getting something for nothing. But anyone who’s ever had to adhere to a family budget knows you can’t just continue spending beyond your means—at some point all bills come due. And that point is now. If we don’t own this problem and take steps toward solving it—now—we’re no better than Congress, continually kicking the can down the road. And this can-kicking will lead to two existential threats to our nation…
2. Sustainability. We’ve heard it so often it’s become a cliché, but if we don’t bite the bullet and tackle this head on, we’re guaranteeing a life of misery and poverty for our children and their children. This level of spending is not sustainable. We’re so used to being “top dog” in the world that many Americans can’t imagine the very real possibility that the U.S. is on a glide path to becoming a semi-failed-state like Greece, only several orders of magnitude worse. And it won’t be too long before this glide path becomes a virtual death spiral, leaving us wide open to something that makes the current external influence seem like child’s play…
3. Security. A broke nation is an unsecured nation. Not just because it cannot afford to adequately defend itself, but because a broke nation is a beholden nation. If we continue to spend ourselves into the poorhouse it won’t be long before other actors swoop in to pick our bones. If we continue on the path to becoming a mega-Greece, there are a couple of possible outcomes: If we’re deemed “too big to fail” by other Western economic powers, we’ll have to make huge promises and accommodations in order to receive a bail-out. Or if they decide they don’t want to go down with the ship, they’ll sit back and watch as we founder then they’ll start the salvage operation. Either way, we’ll have lost the ability to drive our own destiny—something that’s always been one of the key components to the American Dream.
So what’s the solution? It would be easy for me to take a status quo stance and say that I support a balanced budget. That makes a nice sound bite but it means nothing, and more importantly it does nothing to fix the problem.
Simply put, we need a new budgeting process. We can no longer afford to be buying votes with the lavish distribution of taxpayer money and loading every bill with pork designed to grease the palms of other members of Congress in a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” paradigm. Congress needs a budget process that will produce timely, responsible, and definitive budgets. More importantly the process must actually reinforce the practice of governing, just as the 1974 Congressional Budget Act (CBA) intended. This requires procedures that strengthen the legal impetus to no longer aim for the goal of being a debtor nation.
If I’m elected, one of my top priorities will be to work with my fellow leaders in Washington—in a calm, competent, bi-partisan manner—to draft legislation to rectify this growing threat to America’s solvency and security.
Deep down, every American knows we face a moment of truth once again. We’ve always found the courage to do right by our children’s future, and we can’t overlook or ignore the fiscal debt impact any longer. Regardless of party affiliation we have a duty to keep the promise of America to give our children and grandchildren a better life.
Protecting Social Security
Social Security long-term shortfall
Social Security benefits are predicted to be depleted by 2034. Thereafter, the program is projected to pay out only 75% of promised benefits. There are roughly 10,000 baby boomers who turn 65 every day. And since 2010, Social Security has been running a cash-flow deficit.
Solvency and Sustainability
Federal Government stop appropriating Social Security funds for any purpose other than paying Social Security benefits.
New jobs—especially for younger workers—add to the SSI tax base and address deficit reduction… a win-win situation
Social Security benefits are predicted to be depleted by 2034. Thereafter, the program is projected to pay out only 75% of promised benefits.
How did we come to this state of affairs, after being “promised” by the government for over eighty years that Social Security will always be there for us..?
Partly because the “population wave” is cresting: there are roughly 10,000 baby boomers who turn 65 every day. And since 2010, Social Security has been running a cash-flow deficit. But really, the underlying cause (as is common with fiscal issues facing our country) is government spending. In this case, the government has spent down the financial margin of the Social Security system by “diverting” the funds to non-retirement activities. (They call it borrowing, but no one’s fooled by that. They’re basically using it to buy votes through entitlements. It’s analogous to using the savings you’ve put aside for your child’s education so you can treat your important clients to a spendy night on the town in hopes of garnering future favors.)
First off, congress must no longer be permitted to use Social Security funds for any purpose other than paying Social Security benefits. Period. If they want to spend for other uses, they have to raise it elsewhere or do without. The same as we do with our family’s grocery budget.
Then, once we’ve stopped them from robbing the till, the fundamental way to build up Social Security funds is of course to have more workers paying into it. New jobs—especially for younger workers—add to the SSI tax base and address deficit reduction… a win-win situation. And job creation is tied directly back to another issue we’ve discussed—ending the over-regulation which has stifled job creation for decades now. Once we get the nanny state to cut the apron strings and return us to at least a somewhat free-market economy, we’ll likely see the sort of ingenuity and financial boom we saw in the post-war decades.
In addition to the above, Congress should boost the maximum contributions people can make to Health Savings Accounts, so Americans can afford the medical expenses incurred in old age.
Protecting our Critical Infrastructure
Virtually all our electrical, communications, governmental and military resources are controlled via the web.
Protecting our Financial Institutions
The threat to our entire way of life is far more vulnerable than most everyday American understands.
Protecting our personal Identity
As individuals, our vulnerability is also extremely high.
Cyber security is the practice of safeguarding the integrity, security, and accessibility of information. Cyber security experts claim that by the year 2020, there will be 200 billion connected accounts. The majority of technology is vulnerable and easy to hack—as a result, cyber security attacks cause billions of dollars in losses every year. Cyber crime damage cost will reach an estimated $6 trillion dollars by 2020; already, successful breaches have risen more than 27 percent in the last several years. Ransomware attacks alone have doubled in frequency. As your congressman, I will focus on three areas in cyber security: infrastructure, attacks against financial institutions, and personal identity theft.
Protecting our infrastructure
Our enterprise systems (ES) are made up of large-scale applications (software and hardware) systems that encompass everything from commerce to identity protection. Critical infrastructure includes the cyber-physical systems all of us depend on, including national defense, electricity grid, water purification, traffic lights, and even hospitals. Protecting this infrastructure and its critical assets must be a top priority. Plugging these critical enterprises into the Internet makes them vulnerable to cyber attacks. The federal government is an essential partner in securing the energy grid from cyber attacks; it must take more of an active role in understanding the vulnerabilities and drafting legislation in partnership with the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council (ESCC) to protect against these vulnerabilities. The fragility of the information world we now live in demands strong cyber security controls. Hackers and criminal groups capable of executing advanced persistent threats (APTs) pose serious threats to these enterprise systems. A recent cyber attack on the Ukraine’s energy grid, for example, caused a temporary blackout of 225,000.
The DOD’s three primary cyber missions are: defend networks systems and information, defend the U.S. homeland and U.S. national interests against cyberattacks of significant consequence, and provide cyber support to military operational and contingency plans. In January 2018, the director of the Defense Information Systems Agency stated: “The vast, global networks of the Defense Department are under constant attack, with the sophistication of the cyber assaults increasing.”
Strong leadership through laws, regulation, and funding must secure our government and private enterprise systems. Neither the government nor the private sector can deal with the capacity and level of cyber threats alone. Our government cyber security strategies must look at future technologies and trends.
Protecting our financial institutions
Banking and financial institutions are most at risk, given the nature of the data they hold. North Korea and Iran have been linked to cyber attacks on financial institutions, and the money they have stolen has likely been spent developing nuclear weapons. At least 46 major financial institutions and financial sector companies were targeted recently, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, American Express, and AT&T.
Cyber criminals have demonstrated their abilities to exploit our online financial and market systems that interface with the Internet, such as the Automated Clearing House (ACH) systems, card payments, and market trades. In these instances, cyber crime is easily committed by exploiting the system users rather than the systems themselves. This is typically done through the compromise of a legitimate user’s account credentials.
Numerous high-profile breaches against major financial services institutions occurred last year, and the volume and complexity of the attacks are on the rise. As financial institutions shift to digital channels like online banking and mobile transactions, the attack surface grows, and there is more to protect. Consumers want the confidence that their financial information will be protected, regardless of how it is acquired.
Our federal government needs to play a leadership role through legislation aimed at protecting these institutions.
Protecting our personal data and identity
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information, such as your full name or Social Security number, to commit fraud. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, more than 7,500 data breaches involving more than 898 million records have occurred since 2005. Since the U.S. population consists of around 325 million people, it’s likely that almost everyone’s records have been stolen at least once.
Social Security numbers are the key targets. This information can be used to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, or even obtain medical services. The recent Equifax data breach is one of many examples where personal data was stolen. The data breach affected 143 million consumers, and the hackers walked away with Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and other personal data.
Government agencies must erect new fraud barriers using data, analytics, and improved identity authentication techniques. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued guidelines about how agencies should safeguard sensitive information. These guidelines need to be rolled down to federal, state, and local governments, and enforcement is crucial. The federal government needs to take a pre-emptive approach to cyber security; it must collaborate with the private sector to make it more difficult for thieves to obtain personal information. The federal government should also pass legislation that mandates any consumer data breach must be immediately reported to all affected users, accompanied by a plan to mitigate the impact caused by the breach.