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CARROLLTON, Texas (AP)

Employers not required to report illegal workers

Did a suburban Dallas employer go too far when it told police about a job applicant who presented what turned out to be a counterfeit Social Security card?

Relatives and advocates for Maria Martinez say that's what happened when she was arrested, jailed and deported as an illegal immigrant after applying for a hospital cafeteria job.

But a spokeswoman for Trinity Medical Center in Carrollton contends the hospital was simply following policy. Susan Watson says the hospital has a responsibility to report criminal activity to the roper authorities, including possible identity theft.

Martinez is a single mother of a 3-year-old son and a teenage daughter. Carrollton police say she showed the hospital's cafeteria director a Social Security card when applying for a job there in July, and also included the card's number on her application.

About a week later, a background check revealed the number had been issued to a person who had since died. The hospital's personnel director notified Carrollton police, and said Martinez had an appointment the next day at the hospital.

Police were waiting at the hospital and arrested Martinez on a charge of tampering with a government record.

Attorneys say that what makes Martinez' case stand out is that employers aren't required to report someone suspected of a crime. They also aren't mandated to report a worker or applicant suspected of being in the United States illegally.

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