L.A. Cracks Down on Notarios Defrauding New Immigrants

L.A. Cracks Down on Notarios Defrauding New Immigrants

Hilda L. Solis, current chairwoman of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, recently announced that she would introduce a bill targeting the hundreds of “ immigration consultants” that exist throughout Los Angeles County. These so-called “ notarios” often charge extremely high prices to “help” new immigrants obtain legal status in the United States. The non-legal services provided by notarios are frequently fraudulent and unauthorized, and usually do not meet the immigrants’ needs. There is currently no regulation or oversight of notaries. All too often, unwitting immigrant families pay hundreds or thousands of dollars over time to notarios, while making no progress toward a legal immigration status whatsoever. Although state regulations exist in the form of the Immigrant Consultant Act (ICA), enforcement of these rules is scarce. The ICA requires non-attorney notarios to apply for accreditation, obtain a liability insurance policy in the amount of $100,000, draw up any contracts in the immigrant’s native language, and post a sign in their offices stating that they are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice. The bill sponsored by Solis, however, would limit non-legal immigration services like typing forms and delivering paperwork to a fee of $75, and require businesses to post a sign advertising the price limit for these non-legal services. This bill comes on the heels of the conviction of the head of a prominent immigration services firm for practicing law without a license, as well as for its staff members performing unauthorized paralegal services. The Los Angeles City Attorney filed charges against the organization after an investigation revealed several violations of the ICA and improper legal advice. The charges alleged that the firm cost two women thousands of dollars while additionally costing them their legal status. The case is currently on appeal. The deportation defense lawyers of Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. focus our practice on helping clients who are facing removal proceedings; we handle these types of cases on a daily basis. Our goal is to avoid removal at all costs, but also to carefully consider all of the different options that may be available to you. At Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., we offer compassionate legal representation for you and your family throughout the course of all removal proceedings. Contact our office today and schedule a free evaluation about your risk of removal and what type of defense is appropriate for your case.
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