AILA Doc No. 12072450 | Dated July 24, 2012
Washington, DC - This afternoon at a hearing called by the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, Laura Lichter, President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), offered testimony on the importance of ending fraud by immigration practitioners.
"When a lawyer, BIA-accredited representative, or unlicensed immigration consultant, commonly known as a notario, commits immigration fraud it causes harm to innocent immigrants, to the legal system, to the integrity of the immigration process, and to the legal profession. Often clients believe they are being directed through a legitimate legal process, and are unaware of the fraud being perpetrated by the lawyer, accredited representative or consultant. Often individuals suspect that something is amiss. Unfortunately, with such a complicated process, it is easy for unscrupulous practitioners to convince their victims that they don't understand immigration law. In other cases, an applicant may just be so desperate that he or she will ignore the warning signals. These practitioners often dupe their clients with unattainable promises in order to take their money. Almost without exception, these hopeful immigrants wind up in a worse position because of the unscrupulous actor. They are very much victims of this crime."
Ms. Lichter urged Congress and the Administration to commit additional resources to educate unknowing consumers and punish those who commit immigration fraud. She also drew attention to online resources AILA makes available regarding notarios and how to protect vulnerable immigrants from fraudulent immigration consultants. More information is available at http://www.stopnotariofraud.org/.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 12072450.