Feeling at Home in Boston

Sarah Cooper is no stranger to Boston. Having been here before on a J-1 summer visa as well as a co-op work experience with John Hancock, she has definitely learned the ins and outs of the city. Originally from Dublin, Sarah earned her degree in Actuarial and Financial Studies from University College Dublin.

When deciding to come to the United States, Sarah knew that she wanted to come back to Boston. She said “It is a small city, and easy to get around. I also have friends and family in the area. There is a great Irish community here.”

Sarah got her visa sponsorship through the Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) and is very glad she did. “I have had three different visas, used three different visa sponsors, and the IIIC was by far the most supportive and easiest to work with out of the three.”

Shortly after arriving in Boston, Sarah got a position with Liberty Mutual Group, Inc, working with their offices both in the city as well as in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. “It’s a huge group, and there have been so many opportunities to learn and grow.”

When thinking about her experience and how this will affect her career, Sarah knows that this will give her a distinct advantage. “I’ve only been here for a few months, but I’ve already learned so much. I have learned the hard, technical skills that will help me stand out in the industry when I return to Ireland.”

Besides these various skills, Sarah learned that much could be accomplished through virtual media. “I was surprised at how much work is done through Skype. We have many meetings with people all over the country.”

Besides working, Sarah has some fun plans for her next few months in the U.S. “I am visiting relatives in New York for the holidays, I’m doing a Spartan race in New Jersey with a friend, and I hope to visit other cities in the U.S, like Chicago.”

We wish Sarah all the best with the remainder of her internship!

Legal News and Immigration Matters

Urgent: Beware of Telephone Tax Scam

It appears that someone, or possibly a group of people, are using the President’s Executive Action on immigration and confusion over back taxes as an opportunity to carry out a phone scam. A number of immigrants have reported receiving phone calls from people claiming to be a U.S. government agent, who have threatened to deport them if they did not make a money transfer to cover back taxes. Real U.S. immigration officers will never ask for money over the telephone, nor will they seek personal financial information such as bank account or Social Security numbers, which can be used in identity theft.

The general rule of thumb with regard to telephone fraud is that you should never give out sensitive information or send money to anyone. This applies to all unsolicited telephone calls, emails, and other communications, whether they relate to immigration, sales offers, investment opportunities, claims that relatives need money in an emergency, etc. For more information, call the IIIC at 617-542-7654.


Q: I heard that some people have had items stolen from their carry-on luggage when they were going through the security screening at airports. Is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening?

A: There have been such cases. For example, a Transportation Security Administration screener and his supervisor were arrested for stealing cash from passengers’ carry-on luggage at the Newark, New Jersey airport. The victims apparently were targeted; they generally were people from abroad who did not speak English, and many were elderly. The screener actually committed the thefts, and the supervisor took a kickback for allowing the crimes to take place.

It is unfortunate that this sort of thing occurs, but it must be assumed that the vast majority of TSA screeners are honest. Nevertheless, the possibility of theft by screeners or other passengers does suggest that vigilance is the prudent course, especially during holiday travel periods when security-screening lines are crowded. Travelers should keep a close eye on their possessions – bags, electronic items, etc. – as they go along the conveyer belt into the scanner. If a bag is taken aside for inspection, watch carefully as the screener examines the contents. In addition, it is a good idea not to leave items that are easily removed like cash, credit cards, jewelry, etc. in one’s carry-on bags. In addition, computers and other devices should always be password protected so that one’s confidential data cannot be accessed in the event of theft.

By the way, thefts from checked baggage are all too common as well, so one should never check anything valuable or irreplaceable. Also, valuables have been stolen from carryon bags in overhead compartments while their owners were asleep or absent from their seats.

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in individual cases. Areas of law are rapidly changing. US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of State regularly amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice seek the assistance of an IIIC immigration specialist or an immigration lawyer.

Executive Action Information at the IIIC

Information Session at the Irish Cultural Centre - February 1

The Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC), in collaboration with the Irish Cultural Centre of New England (ICC), will present an information session to inform clients about President Obama’s Executive Action plan for immigration relief. The information session will be presented on Sunday, February 1 at 1:00pm at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, MA. Topics to be covered include:

Deferred Action for immigrants living in the U.S. since January 1, 2010 who are parents of U.S. Citizens and permanent residents – this will include employment authorization valid for 3 years. This program will be implemented in 180 days. Expanded DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) for anyone brought to the U.S. before age 16 who has lived in the U.S. since January 1, 2010 – this will also include employment authorization valid for 3 years. This program will be implemented in 90 days. Expanded provisional waiver program for the spouses and children of permanent residents. Clarifying the eligibility to travel abroad for those with temporary status.

Information Session Now Online

The Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC) website now has a video presentation of a recently held information session to discuss President Obama’s Executive Action plan for immigration relief. IIIC Managing Attorney, Jeannie Kain, explains the Deferred Action Benefits of the plan, eligibility to apply, and the factors that need to be considered before applying. To access the information session video, go to the website: (www.iiicenter.org) Executive Action page.

Remembering Annie Moore

This New Year’s Day marks the 123rd anniversary of the arrival of Annie Moore to America. On January 1, 1892 Annie, a 17 year old Irish immigrant, became the first person to pass through the newly opened inspection station on Ellis Island in New York harbor. Annie and her two younger brothers, Philip and Anthony, were natives of County Cork. The trio spent twelve days at sea having sailed from Cobh on December 20.

Ellis Island was to become the busiest immigrant port-of-entry in the nation. For the next 62 years, third-class ship passengers first alighted at the 27-acre island. There they underwent medical and legal inspections, lasting three to seven hours, to certify that they did not have a contagious disease or another condition that could make them a public burden. Some 2 percent were denied entry for this reason.

After her processing, Annie received a $10 gold piece from an immigration official to commemorate the occasion (the equivalent of over $200 today). All three Moore children were soon reunited with their parents who had arrived in America three years earlier. Annie never left New York. She married there and gave birth to at least ten children. She died at age 50 in 1924.

Some 12 million immigrants followed Annie Moore’s path until the Federal government shut down Ellis Island in 1954. The facilities re-opened in 1990 after a six- year restoration project. Today the Ellis Island Museum welcomes nearly two million visitors a year and honors generations of immigrants who entered America through this historic “Gateway to the New World” including the very first, Annie Moore.

In 1992, on the 100th anniversary of her arrival, twin statues of Annie and her brothers were unveiled both in Cobh and on Ellis Island.

Quote of the Week:

“Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true."

Alfred Lord Tennyson - Ring Out, Wild Bells