Don’t Be A Victim Of Immigration Fraud
Common Forms of Immigration Fraud
- Notario Fraud
In certain Latino communities, fraud occurs because of a misunderstanding regarding the authority of a "notary public", which translates to "notario" or "notario publico" in Spanish. In many Latin American countries a "notario" refers to someone who has the authority to render legal services. Unscrupulous "notarios" who are not attorneys often rely on this misunderstanding to exploit immigrants. Furthermore, they charge immigrants excessive application fees without ever submitting applications to the immigration authorities or may induce deportation by submitting applications for relief for which the immigrant is not eligible for or did not request.
- Misrepresenting Legal Credentials
This involves individuals who falsely claim to be attorneys, or wrongly suggest that they are able to appear before the immigration agencies or court. They take advantage of immigrants who will unknowingly pay exorbitant fees for their services. Their lack of real qualifications and skills may cause them to miss deadlines or file incorrect and incomplete forms, as well as false claims with the government. Simply stated, by misrepresenting their qualifications, these individuals can have a detrimental impact on the immigrants with whom they work. For example, immigrants who take advice from and work with these individuals may waive their right to obtain legal residency, be unnecessarily deported, or become subject to civil and/or criminal liability for the filing of false claims.
- Unauthorized Practice of the Law
This concerns individuals who are not licensed to practice law but present themselves as attorneys or immigration law experts capable of providing legal advice and services.
- Fraudulent Promises to Expedite Process
This type of fraud concerns individuals who contend that they know employees at immigration offices who can expedite the processing of their clients applications. Accordingly, they request high fees for this special service, but fail to provide it.
- Misinformation Fraud
Under this type of fraud, a provider will typically provide inaccurate or false information to the immigrant concerning his or her eligibility for an adjustment of status under a particular law. In these cases, the immigrant is usually not aware that he/she has been a victim of fraud until they receive a letter of ineligibility from immigration authorities. Frequently, however, the provider knows the immigrant is not entitled to relief, or ineligible, but will file the application with immigration authorities regardless.
- Immigration Affinity Fraud
This involves providers who target immigrants belonging to their same ethnic or racial group. Accordingly, they seek to gain advantage over other providers by claiming to identify with the ethnic, racial, national origin or community-based affiliations of the immigrant group.