Newark, NJ- If you’re an immigrant, you are most likely aware of how complicated the process of obtaining a visa, green card or fighting deportation can be. Filling out the necessary applications, gathering all relevant documents and meeting with immigration officials is nerve-wracking, confusing and difficult, so naturally immigrants look to experts for help with their immigration-related needs.
In communities with high immigrant populations such as New York or Newark, there is a prevalence of immigration service providers, offering assistance with applications and other immigration-related matters. But, in many instances, immigration service providers masquerade as immigration experts even though they have no legal training, and defraud immigrants of their hard earned money without doing the work they were hired to do.
In some instances, immigration service providers fail to accurately complete or file applications, misplace applications and charge clients inflated fees without actually working on their case. Some of these service providers are not upfront about their credentials, giving clients the impression they are qualified to offer legal advice when they are not.
With the influx of immigrant children at the border, recent changes to immigration policies and forthcoming actions from President Obama it is critical to protect immigrants from fraudulent service providers. Legislators in New York recently passed legislation to protect vulnerable immigrants from fraud and common immigration scams.
On August 6th, Governor Cuomo enacted legislation that offers immigrants additional protection against scams and fraudulent immigration service providers. To deter fraud, the legislation calls for increased financial penalties and creates two new criminal categories: misdemeanor and felony immigration fraud.
The legislation also improves translation requirements and bans the use of titles intended to mislead clients, such as notario público, which in Spanish-speaking countries are trained legal advisors. In the U.S. notary publics are only allowed to notarize documents.
Immigration service providers can be beneficial to a community by acting as translators, helping with civics and English lessons, and taking photographs. But their help is no substitute for having a formally educated and experienced immigration attorney working on your case.
Only an immigration attorney can tell an immigrant how to apply for a specific immigration status or help you prepare for interviews with immigration officials. Only a lawyer can put his/her name on the forms and speak with immigration authorities on your behalf. Each immigration status you apply for has specific document requirements. Your success in obtaining a certain status depends your ability to convince immigration officials and judges you deserve your visa, green card or relief from deportation.
Immigration cases can be exceedingly complex, especially if you are fighting deportation, applying for certain visa categories or seeking asylum. Your case must be approached with the thoroughness and accuracy I am able to devote to all of my clients’ cases. I understand how vital it is for an immigrant to apply for the right status, submit complete and accurate immigration petitions and present a convincing case to immigration officials.
As a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the National Immigration Project and an experienced immigration lawyer, I’m qualified to assist immigrants in New York and New Jersey with a range of immigration services. You can rely on me to be honest and upfront about your chances of obtaining the status you are seeking or avoiding deportation. I will do the work necessary to assure your best chance at success and will available to answer any questions you may have. If you would like to discuss you case call my Newark office to set up a consultation.