The Oregonian reports that swindlers pretending to be immigration attorneys are charging high legal fees to provide fraudulent services to undocumented immigrants in Oregon. The undocumented immigrants were brought into the United States as minor children, according to the top state prosecutor. A Florida law firm and five men were slapped with a lawsuit by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum earlier this year, alleging that they misrepresented their legal qualifications and provided bogus immigration consulting to take advantage of the undocumented immigrant clients.
Fraudulent Immigration Consulting
Despite no licensed attorneys or any other person qualified to provide consultations on immigration issues being available, the group ran advertising spots to the public on radio and television. They also conducted weekend seminars at a local hotel conference room after running the ads. The men allegedly pocketed thousands of dollars in upfront fees from unsuspecting attendees hoping for relief of their statuses. There was only one licensed attorney in the group, eligible to practice in Florida, but not Oregon, who only attended one of the seminars. The accused attorney has denied any wrongdoing.
Oregon’s State Bar notes that alleged fraud by so-called immigration consultants, or notarios, is increasing. Generally, unqualified and unlicensed people target vulnerable immigrants who fear that their ability to stay in America is at risk. This trend of fraudulent consulting services has particularly increased with the uncertainty of DACA under the current administration. Incorrect immigration advice can cause serious harm to the individual and may result in detention or even deportation. Moreover, many undocumented immigrants who are taken advantage of are reluctant to report the problems to the authorities for fear of arrest or deportation.
To consult with an experienced immigration lawyer today, call 855-780-9986
Protecting Yourself from Immigration Scams
Keep in mind that a notario, notario publico, or an immigration consultant is not an attorney. Likewise, he or she is not an accredited representative of the United States Board of Immigration Appeals. Thus, these people are not licensed to provide paid legal advice or services on immigration. Below are several tips to keep in mind when seeking legal advice on your immigration status:
- Do not hire a notario to handle your immigration case, as he or she is not a licensed attorney
- Do make sure the person you hire is licensed to practice law in the United States and in your state
- Be wary of anyone who asks you to pay before there is a way to apply to adjust your status
- Never pay anyone who is unwilling to provide you with a receipt of payment
- Do not ever sign any documentation that you do not understand or that is left blank
- Always request a copy of all of your applications regarding your immigration case
- Never leave your original documents behind — only provide copies
- Always seek out a second opinion if you are unsure about the advice you have been given
- Never trust anyone who guarantees that he or she can win your immigration case
Despite no licensed attorneys or any other person qualified to provide consultations on immigration issues being available, the group ran advertising spots to the public on radio and television.
Central Florida Immigration Lawyers
Florida is no stranger to immigrant populations, including those who are undocumented due to particular circumstances often outside of their control. If you or someone you care about has questions about adjusting their status, contact the Central Florida immigration attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns. We can explain your options under current law and help guide you through the process. Contact us today to schedule your immigration consultation.
NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.