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The wrong kind of immigration help can hurt. Learn who can help. Know where to find the right immigration help and where to turn if you’ve been harmed by someone unauthorized to provide immigration legal services.
The immigration process is often a long, expensive, and complicated process. For these reasons, many immigrants in need of immigration legal services may look to providers other than qualified immigration lawyers for help. While there are well-meaning community representatives and other individuals eager to help you, not all of them mean well, and the harm caused by even a small mistake could be costly for you and your family.
In many Latin American countries, the term “notario publico” refers to an individual who has had a lot of legal training, while in the United States, a notary’s function is simple and straightforward: provide impartial witness to the signing of official documents to prevent fraudulent acts. These individuals may not always go by the name notario and the name may differ from community to community. However, in many cases, these individuals may often refer to themselves as immigration consultants or immigration experts.
While there are a number of states that allow individuals to perform very limited immigration functions, the risk of using these services is high and can result in devastating consequences for you and your family. Our goal is to educated consumers on the risks of accepting help from unlicensed professionals and to provide you with tools necessary to select the best help for you and your family. We encourage consumers to get qualified immigration assistance to avoid being scammed.
This website is hosted and support by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Immigration Fight Notario Fraud Project.
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Immigration is not only a highly political topic, but wildly complicated. For some people, there are easy solutions. For MOST people the solutions are complicated or even non-existent. The problem with going to people who are not lawyers with extensive experience in immigration law is that you are much more likely to be taken advantage of, lied to, or even defrauded. “Notarios” are a blight on our immigration system. https://stopnotariofraud.org is part of the solution. When we have better information distributed to a broader range of potential notario victims, we can save people money, keep families together, and even save lives.
Charles H. Kuck, Managing Partner, Kuck Immigration Partners LLC
I can’t tell you how immigrants have been victimized, placed in removal proceedings, and unnecessarily exposed to years of tormented existence because of accepting the wrong advice from someone who wasn’t qualified to provide legal advice in the first place. Untangling the mess made by someone else is often complex, which means the client has to spend more time and resources to fix any problems created by getting the wrong help. I have seen clients who were eligible for immigration benefits lose their right to live and work in the United States because of hiring unqualified assistance. Please research your options and always consult a qualified immigration lawyer before applying for any immigration benefits.
Mary Carmen Madrid-Crost, Madrid-Crost Law Group
My clients had utilized the services of a woman who claimed to be retired from INS and was able to legally process green cards. For $15,000, they would get work permits within six months and green cards within two years. My clients paid the entire amount by borrowing most of the money, and she took their documents. My clients pursued her by phone over and over, until she began threatening to turn them in to immigration unless they referred her more clients. Eventually, she disappeared, and my clients filed a complaint with the police. Nothing was ever filed. Eventually, the woman was caught, prosecuted, and jailed. However, by that point, there was no way for them to begin a case. Had they utilized the services of a licensed attorney experienced in immigration law, there may have been a legitimate pathway for them to obtain lawful immigration status. Finding the right, lawful help could have changed their lives.
Matthew Blaisdell, NY Immigration Lawyer
Protect Yourself and Your Family from Becoming Victims
Don’t become a victim of dishonest immigration consultants known as “notarios”. Learn how to protect yourself and those around you with advice from these immigration attorneys.
UPL Video: Combating Notario Fraud
This video is presented by the AILA South Florida Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee to help immigrants navigate the complex immigration system and learn how to determine if they are working with a qualified immigration attorney and how to avoid notario fraud.