Texas Attorney General Targets on Notarios – Immigration Scammers
The talk of immigration reform has many immigrants ready to sign up for the law. Except no law has been passed yet. This fact doesn’t seem to deter “immigrant consultants” (aka “notarios”) from coming out of the woodwork though. Many organizations have been issuing public service announcements to get the word out about the unauthorized practice of immigration law. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) issued a PSA on Monday complete with flyers. USCIS has been steadily tweeting to the public about how to steer clear of notarios.
We’ve written about the challenges practitioners face when it comes to clients who have been taken advantage by notarios.
Attorneys General in states like Tennessee have been actively pursuing cases against notarios. I’m happy to add the state of Texas to that growing list. Last Friday, April 26, 2013, the Texas Attorney General released a statement announcing the resolution of an enforcement action against an Austin legal service provider, Just for People, Inc. The judged ordered the corporation dissolved, prohibited the “firm” from continuing to provide unauthorized immigration consulting services, payment of $480,000 in civil penalties, and $195,000 in restitution to its victims. According to the Texas Attorney General’s release, the office has “shut down more than 75 unauthorized legal services providers throughout Texas that were not qualified or accredited to handle immigration-related legal matters.” Kudos! Industry associations are on high alert indeed to educate the public about notario fraud and abuse.
The American Bar Association and AILA have released a Guideline for Consumers, available for free here. The National Notary Association has also released a statement this year on “notarios” here. The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) provides instructions on how to file complaints against notarios here. Please help spread the word on notario abuse by sharing this article with others.