Living in a city of many illegal immigrants / former illegal immigrants I always wondered how they did it - so here are a few stories You enter country legally (tourist visa, student visa etc.. ) While your visa is still valid you get a social security number (not valid for employment). (Alternately you can enter illegally and buy a perfectly legitimate ss number from a person working in the ss office last I heard it cost about $250.00) Next step is to buy a really good fake green card / work permit / birth certificate (If you have enough money you can even buy a real US passport with your own name) Now you are ready to look for a job. All legal aliens have an alien registration number that can be easily checked through a toll free number but many employers never bother. As long as you show them the proper papers and an ss number you are good to go. So, the illegals start working and paying taxes (yes, there indeed are illegals who pay taxes just like everyone else). You would think that by now at least IRS would check your ss number and employment validation with immigration / social security office. But no, even the IRS doesnt care. The IRS only cares if you pay taxes, not about your legal status (surely not in all cases). So, thats how easy it is to beat the system. However, it is as easy to fix it, too. The employers / IRS need to make just a phone call or two to check the status of an alien. Alternately, the databases of IRS/social security/immigration could be combined for this type of background check. (I believe there is some kind of privacy law that doesnt allow different government agencies to combine their databases so maybe this is not possible) So the solutions are there but there are no takers in the government it seems. Maybe the government doesnt really care enough about illegal alien problem. What stories do you know about illegals beating the system?