In New York, frequent fraud against immigrants: what you need to know
The Secretariat of the State of New York warns residents of a number of fraudulent activities targeting immigrants.
Frauds include offers to provide non-existent visa services, as well as the provision of expensive, but unqualified legal services. In most cases, immigrants with limited English proficiency become the target of fraudsters, writes Riverhead local.
Most often, fraudsters offer assistance in obtaining visas, which are not provided for by US law, and also declare their readiness to prepare an application for asylum, which they do unprofessionally, to the detriment of the immigrant.
“There is no such thing as a 10-year visa that some lawyers advertise. If a lawyer offers you a path to legal permanent residence in the United States on a "10-year visa", then he is actually talking about a two-step process, which usually involves applying for asylum without the necessary grounds, which is most likely will initiate the deportation process of the immigrant, after which the lawyer will try to get the immigrant to get a decision known as "cancellation of removal," said Rossana Rosado, who oversees the Office for New Americans and the New York State Consumer Protection Division.
“Cancellation of removal” entitles illegal immigrants, in respect of whom the deportation process was initiated, to receive a green card if they have been permanently residing in the United States for at least 10 years, have no criminal record and have a spouse, parent or child who possess US citizenship or a green card that may face serious difficulties in the event of illegal deportation.
Rosado warned that the process of "cancellation of removal" is a very risky way to legalize in the United States and to achieve the desired solution for the immigrant in this process is extremely difficult.
Often, lawyers offering a “10-year visa” forget to inform their clients that they will be deported if they lose. Immigration judges, at their own discretion, grant or deny “cancellation of removal”, regardless of whether the immigrant complies with the requirements of the law on this matter.
Rosado also warned of “notary fraud”. In many Spanish-speaking countries, “notario público” is a lawyer, so the “notary public” sign on US offices often misleads them, which is what scammers use. In New York, notaries have the authority to verify a person's identity and signature and are not necessarily lawyers. Notaries who are not attorneys may not represent an individual before US citizenship and immigration services, in immigration court, or provide legal advice. Rosado stressed that if a notary offers to represent a person in the immigration process, then this is an attempt at fraud.
She also urged consumers to be wary of immigration service providers who offer people assistance in obtaining permits or other services quickly and for a high fee.
“Immigration service providers can assist with purely clerical processes such as filling out immigration forms or translating documents. However, New York state law prohibits immigration service providers from providing legal advice, threatening people with reporting their immigration status, promising special benefits or charging a fee for information about a lawyer who can represent an individual in immigration court, ”Rosado explained.
She also warned about dummy agents of immigration and customs control, there were several cases when fraudsters approached immigrants, presented themselves as ICE agents and demanded money so that a person could avoid deportation.
She also urged people to check any website that mentions that it is affiliated with USCIS, as fraudsters can copy official sites to steal identity or get money from immigrants, but these sites have nothing to do with real agencies. The easiest way to check a site is to pay attention to the domain, all official government structures have sites with a .gov domain; if the site uses a different domain, then this is a reason to be wary.
Part of the fraud is associated with attempts to get money from immigrants for the provision of services that they never end up with.
"This scam is compounded by the fact that many immigrants, especially illegal immigrants, often do not have bank accounts and pay in cash without receiving receipts," Rosado said.
If you are a victim of such a fraud, or if you suspect someone is trying to turn the scam, contact the Office’s hotline for new Americans: 1-800-536-7636. She works from Monday to Friday with 9: 00 to 20: 00 and provides advice in more than 200 languages.
Hotline specialists work with a team of experienced immigration lawyers and provide advice to immigrants in need of assistance.
The Consumer Protection Service (tel. 1-800-697-1220) offers direct assistance to any resident of New York, regardless of immigration status, who believes that they were received unfairly when selling a product or providing a service.
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