Monday, February 23, 2004

What's wrong with this picture?

The Raleigh News and Observer delivers in its usual style with More need help in Spanish:
Triangle tax firms are maneuvering to capture one market that never stopped booming.

They are moving offices into Latino grocery stores, dangling scholarships to lure Spanish-speaking job recruits, and papering Hispanic neighborhoods with handbills and coupons printed in Spanish. Volunteer tax preparers also are adding locations and interpreters to reach more low-income immigrants.

North Carolina had the fastest-growing foreign-born population in the United States in the 1990s. In Raleigh, the 2000 Census found 19,308 Hispanic residents, and the count has grown since, giving businesses a growth market even in a down economy.
Good news you say? Consider that this is the Raleigh News and Observer who wants us to "welcome the new neighbors," honor matricular consulars as identification, and can't seem to get out the words illegal alien. Here's their poster boy "immigrant":
Roman Acosta-Zuniga, 37, a construction worker from Honduras, followed a Spanish-language handbill and a nephew's recommendation to Liberty Tax Service's Wake Forest Road office, where he was filling out tax forms recently.

An interpreter at the office could relieve only so much of the hassle of wrestling with taxes. It's still a trial, Acosta said. But he was expecting a refund for his trouble.

He planned to send the money to Honduras, where he has four children.

The rest of the article is about all the tax preparation businesses courting the "immigrant" customers. But there are some problems:
Tax firms are increasingly reaching across the language gap to capitalize on this growth, despite complications of documentation and identity that snarled many returns for Hispanic taxpayers last year.
The custom of writing surnames with the mother's last name after the father's last name also leads to rejected filings, she said.

"Last year we learned the hard way to never, ever go by the name on the driver's license or W-2," Borthayre said.
Er, there might be more than one reason for that, pal. Ever hear of phony or stolen Social Security numbers? But actually our beneficent bureaucrats have provided an alternative - IRS seminars, IDs help illegal immigrants pay US taxes:
It's been just an hour, but tax counselors at a recent IRS seminar at an immigrant community center have already seen 100 people and are facing an overflow crowd in the waiting room hoping for tax help.

These people aren't in a quandary over new tax laws or changes to the code. These are illegal immigrants who – up until today – have been using false social security numbers to work in the United States. Immigrants like them are flocking in record numbers to IRS offices and seminars such as this one to learn how to become legal US taxpayers.

The IRS has been quietly supporting this activity since 1996 when it created an individual taxpayer identification number designed for anyone who doesn't have a social security number.

This program has gained momentum as immigrants become aware of this option – and more fearless about their position in the US workforce.

It's an example of the tension over the growing acceptance of illegal immigrants in this country. While US Border Patrol agents play cat-and-mouse with those trying to enter the US illegally, other federal agencies are creating ways to accomodate the 7 million to 8 million illegal immigrants who are already here.

Some say the federal government's acceptance of this new tax ID number – as well its myriad other immigrant services, from education to health to housing – is a clear sign that the country has reached a certain comfortable level with illegal immigration from Latin America.
And some say it's a sign that the bureaucrats and their enablers in the Donk party are completely out of control. They're probably registering the illegals to vote too.