It was no trick, and definitely no treat for taxpayers. On October 31, the Internal Revenue Service announced that a telephone scam aimed at all consumers, but specifically at recent immigrants, was taking place throughout the United States. Victims have been reported in nearly every state.
According to the IRS Newswire, “Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.”
It is important to note that the IRS will NEVER ask for your credit card number over the phone. And payment will never be required in the form of a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. Most often, the IRS will send communication regarding a tax issue via mail. Victims of such schemes can report incidents of misconduct to authorities.
It is unfortunate that scams targeting immigrants exist, but this recent example serves as a reminder that recent immigrants in the U.S. should be vigilant in protecting themselves against harm.
On Sept. 23, 2013, the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) released a fact sheet called “The Cost of Doing nothing; Dollars, Lives, and Opportunities Lost in the Wait for Immigration Reform.”
In June of this year, The U.S. Senate passed S. 744, a broad-based immigration reform bill that addresses all aspects of the immigration process, including border and enforcement issues, as well as various strategies to reform and improve our current immigration laws. The IPC fact sheet demonstrates that the nation’s “enforcement only” approach has led to a breakdown in the system, with a continuation of unauthorized immigration at the cost of American taxpayers.
On October 2, 2013, House Democrats introduced an immigration bill very similar to the Senate bill; however, this bill appears to be going nowhere in the Republican led House of Representatives. Many House Republicans have either opposed immigration reform or favored a piecemeal approach to deal with each immigration related issue separately.
According to the non-partisan Pew Research Center, around 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants were living in the U.S. as of March 2012, and unauthorized immigrants made up 28% of the entire U.S. population of immigrants in 2012. The U.S. economy and many individuals and families are truly seeing the “cost of doing nothing.” One thing is clear: As long as Congress fails to agree on immigration reform, the American people are losing out on an opportunity to improve our nation’s security and economic well-being.
As outlined in the fact sheet, the last time major changes were made to the U.S. immigration system was in 1986, and since that time the government has spent around $186.8 billion on immigration enforcement. The report also outlined the significant economic benefits that immigration reform would bring to our country. It has been estimated by the founding director of the University of California, Los Angeles North American Integration and Development Center that in the first three years after legalization, immigrants’ new earning power could equal an increase in new person income of $30 to $36 billion, net tax revenue equal to $4.5 to $5.4 billion, and enough consumer spending to support 750,000 to 900,000 jobs. It’s time for members of the House of Representatives to put their differences aside and do what is right for our great nation: pass a comprehensive immigration reform law that will improve the quality of life for immigrants and American citizens alike.
Silicon Valley and the IT industry know all too well the benefits immigration reform would have on American job growth and innovation. Giants in the Tech Industry such as Microsoft and Facebook consistently make the point that there aren’t enough skilled American engineers to fuel their companies’ needs, and they frequently voice their frustrations with the shortage of temporary visas and green cards. While the Republican led House of Representatives has so far refused to entertain a comprehensive immigration solution, the IT industry is not giving up easily, and continues to urge Congress to pass immigration reform this year. For example, Mark Zuckerberg has recently spent time in D.C. lobbying for immigration reform.
The shortage of immigration visas for IT professionals is what fuels the tech industry’s motivation to urge Congress to pass an immigration reform bill now, and it is nothing new. Shortages of temporary worker visas is also what led Bill gates to open an office in Vancouver, Canada back in 2008. When Microsoft opened in Vancouver, Bill Gates noted that the Canadian Government welcomed the IT engineers in high-paying jobs, as well as the numerous jobs created around each of those engineers. The state of the American tech industry demonstrates how immigration reform would create jobs for Americans and enable the United States to continue its position as a world leader in innovation. Let’s hope that members of our Congress can put aside their differences and pass an immigration bill this year.
Welcome to my blog, where I share my thoughts on important updates related to immigration law. When I founded the Law Offices of Andrew Wood, I did so with the mission to help people. We achieve this by assisting individuals, families, and employers to navigate the complex and dynamic landscape of U.S. immigration law.
As a parent, I try to instill in my son and daughter that we are here on this earth to help each other. As an immigration attorney, I hold myself to these same values. I have exclusively focused on immigration law since 2008, and I strive to help each and every one of my clients through the immigration process, enabling them to improve their quality of life and focus on whatever it is that is important to them.
While our mission at its core is simple – to help people – the devotion to achieve this goal is not mine alone. Lindsay Wood is our law firm’s Business Manager, and she drives much of our passion to help our clients. Lindsay is also my wife, and our collaborations over the years have helped to found the principles upon which we operate. For this reason, I thought I would take a few minutes to share some of our significant past experiences that led us where we are today.
Prior to becoming an attorney, I spent a significant amount of time in Asia with Lindsay. We lived in Thailand in 2001 and 2002. We spent about 4 months between Sri Lanka and Singapore in 2004/2005, in the aftermath of the December 26, 2004 Asian Tsunami, where we created and implemented a disaster relief program in a small fishing village on the Southeastern coast of Sri Lanka, which was devastated by the tsunami. We have also spent several months in Cambodia and the Philippines, where we assisted local communities. These experiences have fueled our passion to help others in the international community, and set us on a course to establish the Law Offices of Andrew Wood, though which we are able to continue our mission.
We welcome people of all nations to contact us with your questions and concerns regarding immigration, and we are ready and willing to help you through the immigration process.