HAVE you noticed an increase in immigration related spam in your emails? "U.S. Citizenship Here" is but one that's been frequenting our mailbox lately, and of course it's not hard to know why, given that the Senate is currently deep in debate about immigration reform legislation. The key word is debate. Nothing has been signed, nothing has been sealed, and in fact there's still a long road to travel if reform is to be achieved this year, with no guarantees.

Scammers love this kind of activity. It's a golden opportunity to prey on the vulnerable who could possibly benefit from a new immigration law - so what is nothing's been actually signed yet?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has been receiving loads of calls and questions from people about the bill, so much so that the agency has issued a release on the home page of its website warning people that all current laws are still in effect, and any sources claiming otherwise are false.

The agency says, "This notice is to inform the public that although the U.S. Senate is debating and considering immigration legislation (S.1348), that bill has NOT passed into law. Legislation must be passed by both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and signed by the President, before it becomes law. Information about the legislative process is available from the Library of Congress (http://thomas.loc.gov/).

"If immigration reform legislation does become law, U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will advise the public on how to proceed. Until then, individuals should be cautious of any persons, organizations or businesses claiming to assist in applying for benefits under the immigration reform legislation."