A certain criminal element is preying on the fears and concerns of non-citizens in the United States. They call themselves “notarios” or “immigration consultants” and often charge thousands of dollars for incomplete or completely incorrect immigration advice. Such bad advice often leads to dire circumstances for the non-citizens who relied on bad advice and who miss deadlines because of that advice. These notarios also charge for copies of forms which are freely available from USCIS.
According to a story on Fox News Latino, the federal government is fighting back. Five federal agencies will work together to shut down these notarios, with the Federal Trade Commission taking the lead in collecting data and enforcing regulations prohibiting illegal advice giving.
While there are certainly some immigration issues that can be handled by a non-lawyer, if you are seeking an immigration benefit or are trying to avoid being deported back to your home country, you should – at the very least – meet with an immigration attorney to help you better understand your situation. Make sure to ask for credentials before signing up with someone for immigration advice.