Potential Fraud Following Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration
In the wake of President Obama’s executive action on immigration potential applicants need to be warned to beware of scams. The Presidents recent announcement will grant temporary protection to as many as five million people currently residing in the United States. However, the complete details of the plan have not been released and the rollout of the most far-reaching measures is not expected until April or May. This has created a huge opportunity not only for the undocumented population, but also for would-be scam artists. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as well as government officials, state bar associations, and advocacy groups are urging people to take caution when seeking out immigration advice.
By law, only lawyers or representatives accredited by the Justice Department are allowed to represent people in immigration matters. Accredited representatives are not attorneys but they work for organizations that are approved by the Justice Department to give legal advice and represent people in immigration cases. A list of accredited representatives and recognized organizations can found on the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) website.
Failure to properly comply with all of the extremely complex immigration regulations can cost would-be immigrants thousands of dollars and any benefits they may have received under the President’s new order. Victims of fraud may even risk deportation because of the mishandling of their immigration cases. It is imperative that anyone seeking protection under the new executive action consult only licensed attorneys or others authorized to provide legal advice on immigration matters.
It is important for immigrants to realize Notaries or Notarios are not authorized immigration practitioners. Also, because most of the details of the new plan are unreleased, people should be especially wary of anyone offering to start the process now, accelerate the process, or “jump the line”. Scam artists often require payment in cash, and will meet clients in their homes.
With such a large number of people potentially able to benefit from the President’s executive action, the number of people who will need legal assistance is incredibly high. To combat the rise in immigration fraud that will almost certainly accompany these new immigration reforms, immigrants must become aware of the issue and prepare themselves against these scams.