WBEZ | Immigration http://www.wbez.org/tags/immigration Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en In a first, border agent indicted for killing Mexican teen across fence http://www.wbez.org/news/first-border-agent-indicted-killing-mexican-teen-across-fence-113271 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/burnett_azshooting3-1f7b7e61b609870f010327c32580cba275c96438-s1200.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res446877245"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Diego Roman Elena Rodriguez stands on the spot where his brother, 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, was killed by a Border Patrol agent on International Street in Nogales, Mexico, in 2012." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/08/burnett_azshooting5_wide-d159ba9a06ffda1090407b38ad00dc2a4349b9bf-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 337px; width: 600px;" title="Diego Roman Elena Rodriguez stands on the spot where his brother, 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, was killed by a Border Patrol agent on International Street in Nogales, Mexico, in 2012. (John Burnett/NPR)" /></div><div><p>On Friday, in a federal courtroom in Tucson, Ariz., an agent of the U.S. Border Patrol for the first time will be arraigned on charges of murder for shooting and killing a Mexican national across the international border.</p></div></div><p>On Oct. 10, 2012, Agent Lonnie Ray Swartz, standing behind the border fence in Nogales, Ariz., shot 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was walking along a sidewalk in Nogales, Sonora. The agent claims he acted in self-defense against rock-throwers on the other side.</p><p>If Swartz is convicted of the intentional murder of Elena Rodriguez, he faces up to life in prison.</p><p><img alt="The fence between Nogales, Mexico, and Nogales, Ariz., sits atop a steep embankment. It's 20 to 25 feet high, with 3.5-inch gaps between the bars." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/09/img_0288_custom-c1f018b26e9aa17fe25ff03ab373977682cc4463-s300-c85.jpg" style="height: 376px; width: 300px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="The fence between Nogales, Mexico, and Nogales, Ariz., sits atop a steep embankment. It's 20 to 25 feet high, with 3.5-inch gaps between the bars. (John Burnett/NPR)" /></p><p><strong>The Embankment</strong></p><p>Standing on International Street in Nogales, Mexico, in the exact spot where the teenager was shot to death, it&#39;s a wonder how Swartz could have felt threatened by rock-throwers.</p><p>The border fence across the street from where the teenager was shot is built on top of a steep embankment, high above the street where the Mexican rock-throwers allegedly were.</p><p>They would have to throw their projectiles 40 to 50 feet up in the air to clear the top of the fence, and the rocks would have to drop straight down to harm an agent standing on the other side. Or they would have to aim their rocks to fly through the 3.5-inch gaps between the iron bars.</p><p>Swartz, firing from behind the fence, shot Elena Rodriguez 10 times &mdash; eight times in the back, according to the Sonoran state medical examiner.</p><p>Diego Roman Elena Rodriguez is here at the spot where his brother died. He&#39;s a 22-year-old taxi driver with wispy facial hair and a fierce expression.</p><p>&quot;Sure, we are pleased to know that this agent knows what he did,&quot; Roman says. &quot;It pleases me that they exposed him, and they&#39;re not protecting him just because he&#39;s an American. On the contrary, they&#39;ve indicted him.&quot;</p><p><strong>Split-Second Decisions</strong></p><div id="res446876845"><div><p>Swartz&#39;s fellow agents in the rugged Tucson Sector &mdash; where human smugglers, drug smugglers and rock-throwers are common &mdash; have come to his defense.</p></div></div><p>&quot;A lot of us have been involved in rockings; I&#39;ve been involved in rockings,&quot; says Art Del Cueto, president of the Tuscon chapter of the Border Patrol union. &quot;You have individuals, border patrol agents, they have to make split-second, life-and-death decisions. Unfortunately, with social media it&#39;s very easy to &#39;Monday-morning quarterback&#39; somebody.&quot;</p><p>Saturday will mark three years to the day since Elena Rodriguez was killed. The U.S. attorney&#39;s office in Tucson has not said why it took so long to bring charges against the agent.</p><p>A source close to the case, who asked not to be named, says he believes the government decided to prosecute because of the alleged use of deadly force involved. If forensics investigators from Sonora state are correct, Swartz emptied his service handgun on the 16-year-old, reloaded, and kept firing.</p><p>Witnesses in Mexico say the teenager was just walking down the sidewalk, not throwing rocks. There&#39;s a video of the nighttime incident recorded from a security camera, but it hasn&#39;t been made public.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Diego next to posters of his brother Jose. The agent involved in Jose's death will be the first ever charged with murder for a cross-border shooting." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/10/08/burnett_azshooting3-1f7b7e61b609870f010327c32580cba275c96438-s300-c85.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 375px; width: 500px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Diego next to posters of his brother Jose. The agent involved in Jose's death will be the first ever charged with murder for a cross-border shooting. (John Burnett/NPR)" /></p><p><strong>The Benefit Of The Doubt</strong></p><p>This is one of several controversial cross-border shootings involving Border Patrol agents and Mexicans that have gotten a lot of attention in recent years.</p><p>&quot;The indictment is the first time in the history of the country when an agent has been charged with a cross-border shooting. That makes it significant by itself,&quot; says Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU&#39;s Immigrants&#39; Rights Project, who is involved in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/documents/2015/oct/RodriguezSwartz.pdf">a parallel civil lawsuit</a>&nbsp;in which the mother of the teenager is suing the agent.</p><p>Swartz claims immunity from litigation because the U.S. Constitution does not apply in Mexico, but a federal judge in Arizona ruled that it can go forward. That decision is on appeal.</p><p>Convictions of federal agents are rare outside of corruption cases.</p><p>Johnny Sutton, a former U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas, is one of the few prosecutors who has sent two Border Patrol agents to prison. They were convicted in 2006 of shooting a Mexican drug dealer and covering up evidence. After a sustained outcry from critics who believed the pair did nothing wrong, the agents later had their sentences commuted by President George W. Bush.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s really hard to prosecute border agents, because their job is extremely hard,&quot; Sutton says. &quot;We&#39;ve asked them to do extremely difficult things in extremely difficult locations, and people give them the benefit of the doubt &mdash; including juries.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/10/09/446866267/in-a-first-border-agent-indicted-for-killing-mexican-teen-across-fence?ft=nprml&amp;f=446866267"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Fri, 09 Oct 2015 15:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/first-border-agent-indicted-killing-mexican-teen-across-fence-113271 The Supreme Court's new term: here's what to watch http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-courts-new-term-heres-what-watch-113172 <p><p style="text-align: justify;">The United States Supreme Court opens a new term Monday, and, as always, many of the most contentious issues facing the country &mdash; including abortion, birth control coverage, public employee unions, affirmative action in higher education, voter participation &mdash; are likely to be before the court.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">But there is a difference this term. Chief Justice John Roberts, despite his overall conservative record on the bench, has become a punching bag for candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination.</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/first%20three.JPG" style="height: 749px; width: 250px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="" />Presidential candidates have often criticized the court, pledging that they would appoint a different kind of justice. It&#39;s been more than a half century, though, since politicians have put a chief justice, by name, in the cross-hairs of criticism. What is puzzling about the Roberts critique is that the right hailed this George W. Bush appointee when he was named ten years ago, and Roberts has a consistently conservative record on most issues.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">He has voted with the court&#39;s conservatives to strike down most of the legal limits on campaign spending, opening election campaigns nationwide to a flood of new cash. He has consistently supported an individual&#39;s right to bear arms. He wrote the court&#39;s opinion in the 2013 case&nbsp;<em>Shelby County v. Holder</em>, which struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He has consistently opposed any sort of racial preferences. Last term, he wrote the leading dissent when the court struck down state laws banning same-sex marriage.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">On only one flashpoint subject has he parted ways with some or all or the court&#39;s most conservative members: Obamacare.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Yet, in the first two televised debates, Republican candidates took turns pummeling him, characterizing his nomination as a grave mistake, and suggesting that Roberts follows a political path rather than a legal one. If President George W. Bush had appointed someone more conservative than Roberts, said Sen. Ted Cruz, &quot;Obamacare would have been struck down three years ago, and the marriage laws of all fifty states would be on the books.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/last2.JPG" style="text-align: justify; float: right; height: 495px; width: 250px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="" /></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Never mind that Roberts actually dissented in the same-sex marriage case.&nbsp;Jeb Bush, whose brother appointed Roberts, was less strident, but suggested nonetheless that Roberts was a &quot;politically expedient&quot; choice because he was a conservative whom the Senate could confirm. And Gov. Mike Huckabee said that he would require anyone he appointed to oppose all abortions and to see religious freedom as the first of all rights.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Nobody thinks it will be easy for Chief Justice Roberts or the other justices to ignore such talk. But, the job of the chief justice is, among other things, to guard the independence of the judiciary and to preserve the court&#39;s institutional role as a dispassionate arbiter of the nation&#39;s laws and the Constitution.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Notwithstanding the critique in the GOP debates, the Roberts court is most often a conservative court. But it is closely divided, and last term, for the first time in a decade, the court&#39;s liberals prevailed in the majority of 5-to-4 rulings. They did that by picking off not just Roberts and Justice Kennedy on Obamacare, and Kennedy on same-sex marriage, but other conservative justices in other cases.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Most experts see those liberal victories, however, as a product of an idiosyncratic mix of cases. This term, the issues play much more to the strength of the court&#39;s conservatives. There are cases that could further cut back affirmative action in higher education, hobble or destroy public employee unions, and make it easier to limit voter participation in elections.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">There is a strong likelihood that the court will revisit the abortion question, as well as the issue of birth control coverage under Obamacare. &quot;The worry is, does what goes around come around,&quot; said Tom Goldstein, Supreme Court advocate and publisher of SCOTUSblog, &quot;and the writing on the wall sure seems to up there that has got the left scared &mdash; bejesus!&quot;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The court, for instance, for the first time is being asked to determine the meaning of the one-person, one-vote principle in<em>&nbsp;Evenwel v. Abbott.</em> Does it mean that state legislative districts should have the same number of people, or the same number of eligible voters? Does the population count include children, non-citizen immigrants both in the country legally and illegally, and others like those with a criminal record who are thus ineligible to vote? Or does the population count include only those eligible to vote, or even just those registered to vote?</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Virtually all state and local governments currently draw districts based on total population. But if those challenging that practice prevail, it could dramatically shift political power away from districts with lots of children and immigrants, and it would likely give Republicans a big boost in state legislative elections.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Also likely to come before the court are election cases involving strict voter ID laws and other provisions that make it more difficult to vote.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The union case,&nbsp;<em>Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association</em>, could also have huge political consequences by crippling public employee unions and possibly all unions. The case pits the practical needs of collective bargaining against the First Amendment. The nation&#39;s labor laws, as the court has interpreted them since 1977, have struck the balance this way. Once a majority of public employees vote to be represented by a union, those who choose not to join do not have to pay for the union&#39;s political activities, but they do have to pay for contract negotiations that they benefit from.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In short, they must pay their so-called &quot;fair share.&quot; Otherwise they would become free riders on the backs of those who do pay. In two recent cases, four justices, and possibly five, have suggested that requiring such fair share payments violates the nonmembers&#39; free speech rights.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Waiting in the wings at the high court are two politically incendiary cases: one involving abortion, the other birth control under Obamacare. The abortion test case will likely come from Texas, where the Republican-controlled legislature enacted strict new regulations on abortion clinics, requiring them to make costly renovations, and limiting the ability of doctors to perform abortions. The state maintains that the new law was aimed at protecting the health and safety of women. Abortion providers, backed by major medical organizations, counter that the regulations are unnecessary and that the law is in fact aimed at making abortions difficult to obtain.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The birth control case is a test of the Obamacare provision that exempts religious organizations from having to pay for birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. While churches, synagogues and the like are totally exempt, religiously affiliated organizations such as universities and hospitals are exempt only if they notify the federal government of their objections. That in turn triggers an independent mechanism to provide the coverage for those employees who want it. Some religious organizations contend that the notification requirement makes them complicit in facilitating birth control coverage and thus violates their religious principles.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/05/445885201/the-supreme-courts-new-term-heres-what-to-watch?ft=nprml&amp;f=445885201" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-courts-new-term-heres-what-watch-113172 The future of the United States immigrant population in one graphic http://www.wbez.org/news/future-united-states-immigrant-population-one-graphic-113090 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Jihye Jang of Korea participates in a naturalization ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center on July 3, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois..jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res444210514" previewtitle="Jihye Jang of Korea participates in a naturalization ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center on July 3, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Jihye Jang of Korea participates in a naturalization ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center on July 3, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/28/gettyimages-172583116_custom-20c4a6d32137827e471c70182cd070ac356d1982-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 399px; width: 600px;" title="Jihye Jang of Korea participates in a naturalization ceremony at the Chicago Cultural Center on July 3, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)" /></div><div><p>Here&#39;s something you probably knew: Asians have become the fastest growing minority in this country.</p></div></div><p>Today, the Pew Research Center released&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/09/28/modern-immigration-wave-brings-59-million-to-u-s-driving-population-growth-and-change-through-2065/">new analysis</a>&nbsp;that shows that by 2055, Asians will pass Latinos as the largest immigrant group in the country.</p><p>Here&#39;s a graphic that shows past, present and projected future pivots in the country&#39;s immigrant population:</p><p data-pym-src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/immigrant-groups-20150928/child.html">&nbsp;</p><div id="res444193456"><div id="responsive-embed-immigrant-groups-20150928">Of course these numbers will translate into a country that looks very different from what it looks like now. Here&#39;s a paragraph from the Pew report that summarizes the effect on the overall population:</div></div><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;Non-Hispanic whites are projected to become less than half of the U.S. population by 2055 and 46% by 2065. No racial or ethnic group will constitute a majority of the U.S. population. Meanwhile, Hispanics will see their population share rise to 24% by 2065 from 18% today, while Asians will see their share rise to 14% by 2065 from 6% today.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/09/28/444193182/the-future-of-the-united-states-immigrant-population-in-one-graphic?ft=nprml&amp;f=444193182" target="_blank"><em>via NPR&#39;s The Two-Way</em></a></p></p> Mon, 28 Sep 2015 13:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/future-united-states-immigrant-population-one-graphic-113090 The legality of immigrant children in detention centers http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-27/legality-immigrant-children-detention-centers-112751 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://www.wbez.org/" alt="" /><p><div class="image-insert-image "><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221172985&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></div><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Judge rules against immigrant children in detention centers</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Last week a federal judge in California ordered the government to promptly release immigrant children from family detention centers &quot;without unnecessary delay,&quot; and &ldquo;with their mothers when possible.&rdquo; The judge denied the government&rsquo;s request to reconsider a ruling she made earlier this summer, requiring that children held in family detention centers after crossing the US-Mexico border illegally be released. She refuted the government&rsquo;s argument that the release of the minors would cause another surge of illegal immigration across the border. Government agencies have until October 23rd to comply with the order. Rachel Tiven, an immigration attorney and executive director of Immigrant Justice Corps joins us to talk about the ruling and what happens next to the families who have been held in detention.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong><em> Rachel B. Tiven is an immigration attorney and the executive director of Immigrant Justice Corps (IJC)</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221173500&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">What can Europe do about its refugees?</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>This week Hungary has seen a surge in the number of migrants trying to enter the country, many coming from Syria. Hungary is considering sending in its army to help reinforce the border and keep migrants from crossing over its southern border with Serbia. Hungary has already been working on a border fence to prevent people from entering the country. We&rsquo;ll look at what&rsquo;s been happening in Hungary and talk about the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe with Elizabeth Collett, the director of the Migration Policy Institute Europe.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-86af05ce-70be-337a-d70c-ddad02c97ffa"><a href="http://twitter.com/migrationliz">Elizabeth Collett</a> is the director of Migration Policy Institute Europe. She is based in Brussels.</span></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221173867&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Global Activism: GirlForward</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Blair Brettschneider, founder of GirlForward, returns for our Global Activism series. GirlForward mentors refugee girls and provides &ldquo;educational programs and leadership opportunities, creating a community of support that serves as a resource and empowers girls to be strong, confident and independent.&rdquo; Since 2011, Brett has expanded her work helping refugee girls find new lives in America from just one Tanzanian girl, to scores around the world. Blair will talk about her latest group of refugee girls, especially her work with Syrian refugees. GirlFoward&rsquo;s annual celebration, &ldquo;Girl Jam&rdquo;, takes place on September 20th, 2015 at Firehouse Chicago.</p><p><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><span id="docs-internal-guid-86af05ce-70c0-b1cc-8b8e-0273e1a5cfff"><a href="http://twitter.com/@blairb2641">Blair Brettschneider</a> is the founder of <a href="http://twitter.com/GirlForward">GirlForward</a>.&nbsp;</span></em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 14:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-08-27/legality-immigrant-children-detention-centers-112751 Global Activism: GirlForward expanding help for refugees http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-girlforward-expanding-help-refugees-112767 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/221173867&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-a9877e70-7627-fa5f-613f-21d5dde24703">Blair Brettschneider, founder of <a href="http://www.girlforward.org">GirlForward</a>, returns for our </span><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism">Global Activism</a></em> series. &nbsp;GirlForward mentors refugee girls and provides &ldquo;educational programs and leadership opportunities, creating a community of support that serves as a resource and empowers girls to be strong, confident and independent.&rdquo;<span id="docs-internal-guid-a9877e70-7627-fa5f-613f-21d5dde24703">Since 2011, Brett has expanded her work helping refugee girls find new lives in America from just one Tanzanian girl, to scores around the world.&nbsp;</span>Blair will talk about her latest group of refugee girls, especially her work with Syrian refugees.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://https://publicgood.com/org/girlforward/donate/girl-jam-2015"><strong><span>GirlFoward&rsquo;s annual celebration, &ldquo;Girl Jam:</span></strong></a></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-a9877e70-762e-0b6f-dddb-51d225d1455e">Sunday, September 20, 4 - 7 PM</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-a9877e70-762e-0b6f-dddb-51d225d1455e">Firehouse Chicago, 1545 W. Rosemont Ave.</span></p></p> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 11:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-girlforward-expanding-help-refugees-112767 Drug addicts sent from Puerto Rico may be victims of ID theft in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/drug-addicts-sent-puerto-rico-may-be-victims-id-theft-chicago-112325 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Joel%20%281%29.JPG" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Joel says he was never able to retrieve the personal documents that Segunda Vida, a 24-hour group for addicts in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, took from him. Later, he learned that his identity was being used by someone else when his unemployment benefits were frozen.(WBEZ/Odette Yousef)" /></div><div>After we aired a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852">story</a> about Puerto Rican drug addicts who were sent to unlicensed 24-hour group treatment programs in Chicago, we heard from lots of listeners. They were disturbed by one particular detail in reporter Adriana Cardona-Maguigad&rsquo;s investigation: that the groups routinely confiscate addicts&rsquo; identifying documents, and sometimes don&rsquo;t return them.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In fact, in a tension-filled scene in Cardona-Maguigad&rsquo;s story, she accompanied one man to retrieve his documents from one of these treatment programs, a place called Segunda Vida.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><iframe frameborder="no" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/213554791&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></div><blockquote><div><strong>Listen: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/drug-addicts-sent-puerto-rico-may-be-victims-id-theft-chicago-112325#playlist">More stories and conversations about the pipeline of addicts from Puerto Rico to Chicago</a></strong></div></blockquote><div><p>Our listeners wrote us to ask: What are these groups doing with the addicts&rsquo; papers? If they&rsquo;re really trying to keep those documents safe, as Cardona-Maguigad was <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/554/transcript">told</a> by a founder of Segunda Vida, then why would they keep the papers even after an addict leaves? Could they be selling these addicts&rsquo; identities on the black market?</p><p>It turns out, where Puerto Ricans are concerned, there&rsquo;s added reason for suspicion. Puerto Ricans&rsquo; identities are especially valuable, because they&rsquo;re U.S. citizens -- with Social Security numbers -- and Spanish names.</p><p>In a federal case against an alleged Puerto Rican identity <a href="http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/50-individuals-charged-puerto-rico-allegedly-trafficking-identities-puerto-rican-us">trafficking ring</a>, law enforcement agents found that a set that included a birth certificate and Social Security card could fetch up to $2,500 on the black market. With that, an undocumented immigrant from South or Central America could obtain work authorization, a line of credit or even a U.S. passport.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852">Puerto Rico exports its drug addicts to Chicago</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>I started hanging out in the same Back-of-the-Yards neighborhood where Cardona-Maguigad found many addicts in her story. I thought, if I could just ask a few of them to share their Social Security numbers with me, we could find out what&rsquo;s happening with their personal information. Most of the men I found refused to share that data. They told me they&rsquo;d gotten their documents back when they left the treatment programs, and they didn&rsquo;t have reason to suspect foul play.</p><p>But then I met Joel.</p><p>He can&rsquo;t recall when he was sent to Chicago for treatment, but he, too, dropped out of rehab at Segunda Vida. Most mornings, I found him loafing around outside, making friendly chit-chat with other street characters. But he&rsquo;s still very much lost in the haze of his heroin addiction.</p><p>&ldquo;When you go back to this, you get totally lost,&rdquo; he told me one day, speaking in Spanish. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t even know what day it is.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">&lsquo;It appeared I was working in Alabama&rsquo;</span></p><p>I&rsquo;m not using Joel&rsquo;s last name, to protect his identity. At 34, he said the only identification he carries is a photocopy of an Illinois state ID. Like others who went to Segunda Vida for treatment, he surrendered his documents to the people running the program. Confiscating identifying papers is common practice at these kinds of unofficial treatment facilities. When he left, he said he didn&rsquo;t get his documents back. He tried, returning to the residence several times, but eventually he gave up.</p><p>Later, Joel learned that his identity was being used by someone else. He discovered it when he found that his unemployment benefits had been frozen.</p><p>&ldquo;When I went to the unemployment office I was told that they had to stop payment because it appeared I was working in Alabama and I had additional income there,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Joel shared his Social Security number with me, and with it, I got a rundown of his earnings over the years. What I found were classic signs of identity theft.</p><p>First, Joel said he hasn&rsquo;t held a steady job in years. He recalled working at a corrugated paper factory in Chicago and some brief stints canning jalapenos and olives. But his record shows continuous earnings for nearly a decade -- roughly $30,000 a year since 2006. Plus, the earnings swing erratically. One year it&rsquo;s as high as $52,000, and another, it&rsquo;s less than $16,000. And a lot the work is with temporary staffing agencies and food processing companies -- two industries known for hiring undocumented immigrants.</p><p>Because it looked suspicious, I took what I found to a man named George Rodriguez. Rodriguez described himself as a founder of Segunda Vida and a former addict himself. He denied that the program ever sold addicts&rsquo; identities, and said people always get their papers when they leave.</p><p>Clearly that was not the case with Joel. And soon I found that he&rsquo;s not the only one in this situation. In fact, the next guy I met had an even wackier story.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">&lsquo;My credit was ruined&rsquo;</span></p><p>Juan, 40, was told that the rehab program that he went to &ldquo;lost&rdquo; his papers.</p><p>&ldquo;They kept my papers, my Social Security card, my ID, my birth certificate, everything,&rdquo; he said in Spanish.</p><p>Then last year, he tried to get a car loan. That&rsquo;s when he got his first inkling that something was up with his personal information.</p><p>&ldquo;They said no because my credit was ruined,&rdquo; he said.</p>So I took Juan&rsquo;s Social Security Number, too, and showed what I found to several experts. Here&rsquo;s a snapshot:</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/image%20%281%29.png" title="Juan, a drug addict from Puerto Rico, arrived in Chicago in 2003. That same year, earnings associated with his Social Security Number rose dramatically." /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div><p>&ldquo;Wow. Well. I know they say America&rsquo;s the Land of Opportunity, but, boy, has his income jumped since arriving on the mainland,&rdquo; said William Kresse, a professor at Governors State University and an expert on identity theft, on seeing Juan&rsquo;s incomes.</p><p>The first red flag Kresse identified was the year that Juan&rsquo;s income jumped significantly.</p><p>&ldquo;Suddenly in 2003, the year that he was brought to the Chicago area, it jumps to almost $30,000, and then almost $44,000. And, oh my goodness, $116,000, almost $168,000,&rdquo; said Kresse. &ldquo;Yeah, this is remarkable.&rdquo;</p><p>There were even earnings during times that Juan was in jail for theft and residential burglary. His records paint a frenetic picture, of a guy processing beef in Washington state, removing snow in Illinois, working at a Wendy&rsquo;s fast food restaurant and holding thirteen other jobs&hellip; all in a single year.</p><p>There are some things we can&rsquo;t say for sure. We can&rsquo;t say that Juan and Joel&rsquo;s identities were sold by the drug rehab programs. We can&rsquo;t say that everyone who&rsquo;s gone to one of these programs is a victim of identity theft. We can&rsquo;t even say for sure that Juan and Joel didn&rsquo;t sell their identities themselves. I asked, and they both said they didn&rsquo;t. But federal law enforcement officials have found that some Puerto Rican addicts do that for a bit of cash.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-dart-investigate-unlicensed-rehab-centers-111938">Sheriff calls on feds to investigate Puerto Rican agencies that send addicts to Chicago</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>That said, Bill Kresse said there is still enough here to warrant further action.</p><p>&ldquo;Definite red flags to show that there&rsquo;s probable cause to go ahead with a further investigation, in fact a criminal investigation into this,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;The numbers alone should justify a criminal investigation.&rdquo;</p><p>Kresse wasn&rsquo;t the only one to say this. We found lots of officials who said there&rsquo;s enough here to warrant concern. A federal prosecutor. A former Chicago police officer. Two former FBI agents. Someone with the Social Security Administration. The Illinois Department of Human Services. They agree that if these treatment places are organized schemes to set up vulnerable drug addicts for identity theft, somebody should go after them.</p><p>But nobody agrees on who should look into it.</p><p>Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan&rsquo;s office said it&rsquo;s a matter for Chicago Police or the FBI. Chicago Police and the FBI said there&rsquo;s nothing to investigate if victims don&rsquo;t report a crime. Immigration and Customs Enforcement doesn&rsquo;t talk about whether it&rsquo;s investigating something. And the Social Security Administration said it lacks jurisdiction to investigate identity theft.</p><p>So we know we have something. We just don&rsquo;t have anyone willing to investigate it.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef">@oyousef</a> and <a href="https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/3512712648/36dee91a3ceeb66e8253372b9e042d0c_400x400.jpeg">@WBEZoutloud</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></div><p><span style="font-size:24px;">More stories and conversations about the pipeline of addicts from Puerto Rico to Chicago<a name="playlist"></a></span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="350" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/121617509&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 22:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/drug-addicts-sent-puerto-rico-may-be-victims-id-theft-chicago-112325 Irish immigrant ponders losses and gifts from life in U.S. http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/irish-immigrant-ponders-losses-and-gifts-life-us-112148 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150605 Peter Magdalen Barry MacEntee bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mags MacEntee grew up in rural Ireland. At age 19, she met an Irish medical student named Peter. Six years later, they were married. The Monday after their wedding, MacEntee and her new husband flew to the United States so he could finish his medical residency. Over time, what was supposed to be a temporary move became permanent--with all the gains and losses that came with it. MacEntee came to the StoryCorps booth with her sons Peter and Barry.</p><p><em>StoryCorps&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.</em></p></p> Fri, 05 Jun 2015 12:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/irish-immigrant-ponders-losses-and-gifts-life-us-112148 Worldview: Obama's executive action on immigration under fire http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-04-20/worldview-obamas-executive-action-immigration-under-fire-111908 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP782395362726.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px;" title="Demonstrators, led by the New Orleans Worker Center for Racial Justice and the Congress of Day Laborers, participate in a rally outside the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Friday, April 17, 2015.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201750269&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Immigration reform and the Obama administration</span></p><p>Last Friday, Justice Department lawyers urged a federal appeals court to lift a stay on President Obama&rsquo;s &nbsp;executive action on immigration.&nbsp;A 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel held a special hearing&nbsp;but did not make a ruling on Friday.&nbsp;In February, a Texas judge ruled that Obama&rsquo;s orders overreached and violated the constitution. We&rsquo;ll talk about the ruling, Obama&rsquo;s immigration policies and the national security implications with Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno, co-director of U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch.</p><p><strong style="font-family: 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 16px;">Guest:</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-5d502e8b-d887-ff21-44c7-c513cff31558"><a href="https://twitter.com/MariaMHRW">Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno</a> is the</span> co-director of <a href="https://twitter.com/HRW">US Program at Human Rights Watch</a>.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201750670&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Relatives of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students speak out</span></p><p>Last September, 43 students from Mexico&rsquo;s Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teacher Training College of Ayotzinapa were detained and disappeared, presumably by police. The students are presumed murdered. Since then, Mexicans have demanded answers, justice and closure from their government. We&rsquo;ll speak with two relatives of the missing students. Cruz Bautista Salbador is a teacher and uncle of disappeared student, Benjamín Ascencio Bautista and María de Jesús Tlatempa Bello is the mother of disappeared student, José Eduardo Bartolo Tlatempa. They&rsquo;re on a national awareness tour and traveled to &nbsp;Chicago as guests of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-38438439-d88a-c199-b7c9-bba820c4bf55">Cruz Bautista Salbador is a</span> teacher and uncle of disappeared student Benjamín Ascencio Bautista.</em></p><p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-38438439-d88a-c199-b7c9-bba820c4bf55">María de Jesús Tlatempa Bello</span>&nbsp;is the mother of disappeared student José Eduardo Bartolo Tlatempa.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/201751638&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 23.9999980926514px; line-height: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Two different sides of the Israel Palestine conflict unite under one cause</span></p><p>Hands of Peace &nbsp;is an interfaith group created by three Chicago-area women: Christian; Jewish; and Muslim to foster empathy and peace. They have a particular focus on harmonious co-existence between &nbsp;Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel. HOP brings &nbsp;teenagers together to help them understand the world from different points-of-view. We&rsquo;ll talk about HOP with Elik Elhanan, assistant professor of Hebrew and Yiddish literature at The City College of New York. He was a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), but is now a pacifist and &nbsp;military &rsquo;refusenik&rsquo;. &nbsp;In 1997, a suicide bomber killed his 14-year old sister in Jerusalem. &nbsp;We also speak with Aziz Abu Sarah, co-founder and group leader with Mejdi Tours. They help educate people via tours about the religion, culture and history of Israel&rsquo;s Jews and Palestinians by using a Palestinian guide and an Israeli tour guide.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-f6c22ce0-d88d-0edb-3266-5aae6498a1ef">Elik Elhanan is an</span> assistant professor of Hebrew and Yiddish literature in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in the Jewish Studies Program at The City College of New York.</em></p><p><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-f6c22ce0-d88d-0edb-3266-5aae6498a1ef"><a href="https://twitter.com/AzizAbuSarah">Aziz Abu Sarah</a> is a</span> 2014 Ted Fellow and National Geographic&rsquo;s 2011 &ldquo;Emerging Explorer,&quot; co-founder and group leader with Mejdi Tours, an organization that offers dual-narrative experiences by providing one Palestinian guide and one Israeli guide, exposing travelers to the unique cultural, political, and religious narratives of both groups.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-04-20/worldview-obamas-executive-action-immigration-under-fire-111908 Tight-knit family remembers their mom http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/tight-knit-family-remembers-their-mom-111859 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/StoryCorps 150409 Moran Family bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Susan Moran couldn&rsquo;t leave the country to go to her mother&rsquo;s funeral in England.</p><p>Moran moved to the United States in the mid-nineties with her husband and kids. They tried to get a green card at that time, but when her mom died, Moran still didn&rsquo;t have the&nbsp; paperwork necessary to leave the U.S.</p><p>In May 2013, she was diagnosed with gallbladder cancer. Four rounds of chemotherapy didn&rsquo;t eliminate it and it spread. She was given four months to live.</p><p>When Susan Moran visited the StoryCorps booth in 2013, her son Sean asked her how she wanted to spend the remainder of her life. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve got an amazing family,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;that won&rsquo;t let me go anywhere easily. That&rsquo;s for sure.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t want to go,&rdquo; Susan continued. &ldquo;Too many things to see.&rdquo;</p><p>At the time of the 2013 interview, Moran had just received a temporary green card, which enabled her to leave the country for the first time in 20 years, to travel to England to see her father, and her mother&rsquo;s grave.</p><p>As soon as she got back from that trip and touched down at the airport, she was in immense pain. She was driven straight from the airport to the hospital.</p><p>Susan Moran died January 28, 2014.</p><p>A little over a year after her death, her kids came back to the StoryCorps booth with their dad - Kailey Povier, 35, Liam Moran, 30, and Sean Moran, 32.</p><p>&ldquo;She had a very sweet voice,&rdquo; Sean Moran says, after re-listening to their earlier interview.</p><p>Liam says their mom didn&rsquo;t consider her own feelings enough. She was always too concerned with everyone else, and not worried enough about her own well-being, he says.</p><p>Sean Moran remembers the parties the family used to throw at their house. One time, in particular stood out in his mind: His mom&rsquo;s sister Jenny was visiting and they put &ldquo;Crazy&rdquo; by Cee-Lo Green on repeat. They&rsquo;d dance like mad and when it was over, they&rsquo;d hit repeat and start dancing again, trying to get others to dance with them the whole while.</p><p>&ldquo;You&rsquo;d think that it would be quiet,&rdquo; Kailey says, about her mom&rsquo;s last days. &ldquo;But it was a full house of family and friends.&rdquo; Kailey remembers a few days before her mom died, they were passing around a box of chocolates. Her mom could barely communicate, but she managed to lift a finger and point at the nurse. Everyone agrees: That was there mother&rsquo;s way of making sure her family offered the nurse some chocolate too.</p><p>&ldquo;She was always thinking of other people,&rdquo; Kailey says. &ldquo;We need mom here to help get us through this.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 14:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/tight-knit-family-remembers-their-mom-111859 Health care tax rules trip up some immigrants http://www.wbez.org/news/health-care-tax-rules-trip-some-immigrants-111785 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Immigrant-Obamacare.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The deadline&rsquo;s coming to file tax returns, and aside from the usual headache, this year it&rsquo;s proving particularly thorny for undocumented immigrants. That&rsquo;s because, for the first time, there are penalties under the Affordable Care Act for those lacking health insurance.</p><p>But the law is complex, and when it comes to people living in the U.S. illegally, many are getting slapped with fines they shouldn&rsquo;t have to pay.</p><p>Adalberto Martinez, a mechanic at an auto body shop in Chicago, is one of them. Like many undocumented immigrants, Martinez pays income taxes, using an IRS-issued taxpayer identification number, called an ITIN. But this year, he noticed something different when he sat down with his tax preparer.</p><p>&ldquo;They told me that there&rsquo;s a box where you have to answer whether you have insurance or not,&rdquo; he explained in Spanish. &ldquo;So she put down that I didn&rsquo;t have insurance. She didn&rsquo;t explain to me exactly why, just that there was a box there and I didn&rsquo;t have insurance.&rdquo;</p><p>Afterwards, Martinez found he was hit with a $200 fine for not having health coverage in 2014. The official name for the penalty was the &ldquo;shared responsibility payment.&rdquo;</p><p>Most lawful U.S. residents are required to have health coverage under Obamacare, and those who don&rsquo;t will have to pay the penalty. But under the law, undocumented U.S. residents, like Martinez, are exempt from all that. But Martinez&rsquo;s story is not unique.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve heard from at least 10 to 15 organizations that have been hearing this issue in the community,&rdquo; said Luvia Quinones, health policy director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.</p><p>Quinones said it&rsquo;s not clear how many undocumented immigrants may have improperly paid the fine, but she said thousands in Illinois could be at risk.</p><p>&ldquo;We know that in the state of Illinois, there&rsquo;s about 310,000 undocumented, uninsured individuals in addition to about 70-80 thousand DACA youth that are eligible also to get their work permit,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>DACA youth, also known as DREAMers, are immigrants that arrived in the U.S. as children and obtained temporary relief from deportation under President Obama&rsquo;s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. They have valid Social Security numbers, which could be used to file tax returns. This puts them at particular risk for mistaken penalties, because while their Social Security numbers may suggest that they are lawful U.S. residents, and therefore subject to the health care penalty, Obamacare explicitly excludes them from the health coverage requirement.</p><p>Quinones said in some cases, she believes immigrants are being entrapped in fraudulent schemes by unscrupulous tax preparers who are pocketing the penalties themselves. An advisory from the IRS indicates that the federal agency is aware and concerned about these reports as well.</p><p>But often, Quinones said, these instances are mistakes, where tax preparers are unclear about the new law.</p><p>That&rsquo;s what Graciela Guzman found when she was forced to tackle the issue. As a health care navigator at Primecare Community Health, a bilingual clinic in the city&rsquo;s Wicker Park neighborhood, she helps people enroll in health insurance plans.</p><p>Technically, Guzman&rsquo;s job has nothing to do with taxes, but recently patients whom she&rsquo;d told were ineligible for health coverage under Obamacare started showing up at her clinic. They&rsquo;d prepared their tax returns, and they were mad at her.</p><p>&ldquo;Like, &lsquo;you told me I was not going to get penalized,&rsquo;&rdquo; Guzman recalled them saying. &ldquo;Like, &lsquo;you educated us and you said we are not going to get penalized, and we got penalized. Why?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Guzman realized lots of tax preparers were making mistakes, so she and her colleagues decided to educate them.</p><p>On a recent weekday afternoon, she canvassed Fullerton Avenue in the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood on foot, carrying a bag of informational flyers.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ll hit a new corridor every two or three days,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ll probably hit 10 to 15 income tax places per corridor, so we&rsquo;ve probably hit about 120 income tax places.&rdquo;</p><p>Guzman pops into tax preparers&rsquo; offices, as well as check cashing sites, speaking briefly in Spanish to explain her purpose, and to leave a stack of papers. The sheets detail, in English and in Spanish, how undocumented immigrants should claim an exemption from the penalty.</p><p>Guzman said the penalty can be a hardship for many people at her clinic. It&rsquo;s at least $95 per adult who&rsquo;s not insured. But in most cases it&rsquo;s a lot more, depending on the family&rsquo;s income.</p><p>&ldquo;A penalty of $300-$400, it can absorb half if not more of what they would have gotten back in refund,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>So why has it been so hard to get it right? One reason is that none of the information you provide on your tax return is an absolute indicator of your residency status. Not everyone who files taxes using an ITIN is undocumented; conversely, not everyone with a Social Security number is a lawful U.S. resident.</p><p>There are different opinions on how tax preparers should handle this.</p><p>&ldquo;If they are using services of a tax preparer, they should tell preparer directly that immigration status is that of someone not in the U.S. legally,&rdquo; said Enrique Lopez, a CPA in Chicago. In fact, Lopez said that his office will refuse to file a tax return for a client who does not disclose his or her residency status.</p><p>But others worry that this might backfire.</p><p>&ldquo;I think not only is it going to create more fear in the community, but it could also affect the likelihood of undocumented individuals or DACA youth wanting to file taxes,&rdquo; said Quinones.</p><p>Instead, Quinones recommended that tax preparers keep things general. Instead of asking whether a client is undocumented, he or she could ask if the client qualifies for any of a number of exemptions that fall under the same <a href="http://www.irs.gov/instructions/i8965/ch02.html#d0e1463">code</a>. That way, someone who&rsquo;s undocumented can indicate that they are exempt without disclosing the specific reason why.</p><p>As for Martinez, he was able to go back to his tax preparer and file a tax return amendment. He hopes he&rsquo;ll get his $200 back. In the meantime, he said he&rsquo;s doing a little outreach himself.</p><p>&ldquo;I started telling people,&rdquo; he said, through a translator. &ldquo;My cousin in Indianapolis, he came to Chicago, and he told me they charged him $300. I told him, &lsquo;Hey cousin, you need to find out what happened &lsquo;cause they shouldn&rsquo;t have charged you.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, immigrant advocates and others are warning the public that anyone who pays the penalty directly to a tax preparer, by cash or otherwise, may be a victim of fraud. The IRS recommends filing a <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f14157.pdf">form </a>to report the activity. Consumers may also file a complaint with the &nbsp;<a href="http://illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.">Illinois Attorney General</a>.</p><p>In cases where someone has improperly paid the penalty to the IRS, they can file a tax amendment to get the money back. Get Covered Illinois advises anyone with questions about the health care requirement or the tax penalty to call its hotline at 866-311-1199.</p><p><em>Ivan Favelevic and Aurora Aguilar assisted with language translation for this story.</em></p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&#39;s North Side bureau reporter. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/oyousef"><em>@oyousef</em></a><em> and </em><a href="https://twitter.com/wbezoutloud"><em>@WBEZoutloud</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 09:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/health-care-tax-rules-trip-some-immigrants-111785