Surprise! Univision Reports Massive ID Theft Tied to Illegal Immigration

One seldom hears news on Univision that directly ties large numbers of unauthorized immigrants in the United States to crime, but that's just what happened during one of the network's recent national evening newscasts.

The stunning report, read by weekend anchor Aranxta Loizaga, was based on a new U.S. Department of the Treasury Inspector General finding that in 2015 alone, unauthorized immigrants “stole nearly 1.4 million Social Security numbers to be able to work in the country and file their tax returns.” 

ARANXTA LOIZAGA, ANCHOR, NOTICIERO UNIVISION FIN DE SEMANA: Identity theft in the United States is one of the fastest growing crimes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that undocumented immigrants stole nearly 1.4 million Social Security numbers to be able to work in the country and file their tax returns, and what is serious, is that many of the victims have not found out about it yet.

Univision’s report, however, went on to include justification of the crime as a “necessary” one in order for unauthorized immigrants in the country to file income tax returns, as well as ostensibly amass a record of “good moral behavior” as productive residents.

What the Univision report failed to include were the voices of any victims of the massive identity theft, and the obviously totally “unnecessary” hardship and travails that are imposed on them by the crime.

The Inspector General at Treasury found that the IRS knows of 2.4 million people a year who file taxes using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), which is generally given out to people who are not authorized to work in the country. But up until now, according to the Inspector General, the IRS has not coordinated with Homeland Security to help agents identify who and where those taxpayers are.

Below is the full transcript of the above-referenced segment as aired on June 25, 2017 on Noticiero Univision, Fin de Semana:

ARANXTA LOIZAGA, ANCHOR, NOTICIERO UNIVISION FIN DE SEMANA: Identity theft in the United States is one of the fastest growing crimes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reported that undocumented immigrants stole nearly 1.4 million social security numbers to be able to work in the country and file their tax returns,  and what is serious, is that many of the victims have not found out about it yet. Dulce Castellanos explains.

DULCE CASTELLANOS, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: Identity theft is a severely punished crime and the number of cases related to employment are more than what had been identified, according to a report by the Inspector General of the Internal Revenue Service.

EDGAR PALACIOS, FEDERAL TAX AUDITOR: When an individual uses a Social Security number that has not been issued to him, using a name, a Social Security number it is called impersonation.

DULCE CASTELLANOS, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: Employment identity theft includes borrowing a number even if the person has authorized it, or making one up. But immigrants say that the need to provide for their families leaves them without options.

WILFREDO SERRANO, GUATEMALAN IMMIGRANT:  One could make up a number if one wanted to, and could pay taxes…to make up a number of a dependent also, and they would send money to you at first, but now it is too hard, now you cannot do any of that.

DULCE CASTELLANOS, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: An expert in immigration, lawyer Alex Galvez says that undocumented workers must continue to file their taxes as it is a record of good moral behavior.

ALEX GÁLVEZ, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: The government cannot have it both ways;  you cannot say in a situation that using a false Social Security is a crime, but on the other hand, if you do not work, if you do not file your taxes it will hurt you if there is a reform, if you are in immigration court, or if you want to become a resident.

DULCE CASTELLANOS, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: The audit showed that the IRS faces obstacles when it comes to alerting victims. And when it comes to taxpayers with ITIN numbers sent by mail, there were more than 270,000 unaware victims in 2015.

ALEX GÁLVEZ, IMMIGRATION LAWYER: If it were not for the work and the financial support they give when they file their taxes, the Social Security program, the program they cannot benefit from, would have already gone bankrupt.

DULCE CASTELLANOS, CORRESPONDENT, UNIVISION: The Inspector General issued recommendations to inform victims of theft, but the IRS does not seem to agree with the suggestions due to issues of taxpayer safety. In Los Angeles, Dulce Castellanos, Univision.

 

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