It is no secret that in the United States there are those who wish to defraud immigrants looking to apply for immigration benefits.
Many immigrants are scammed out of thousands of dollars and suffer from consequences that come from using a fraudulent immigration assistant.
Many states within the United States and the federal government itself have been working on the development of laws to protect immigrants looking to apply for benefits. However, there are limits to how much can be done and how protected immigrants are by these laws.
The laws that prevent immigration assistance laws generally come in two varieties:
UPL laws – UPL stands for the “Unauthorized Practice of Law”. UPL laws fight immigration fraudsters by targeting their activities as law practice, which because they are not lawyers, they cannot participate in. UPL laws are not limited to immigration assistants and can be applied to any sort of law practiced by someone who is not a lawyer. Therefore, UPL laws are often used to combat immigration fraudsters, but are not specifically created for that purpose.
- Direct Immigration Assistance Laws – These are laws that are created specifically to stop immigration fraud. An example is New York’s Immigration Assistance Service Enforcement Act, which recently came into effect. This law states that non-lawyer immigration assistants who charge more than $1000 for their services will face felony charges. Some other states such as Illinois, Georgia, California and Michigan have similar laws, but not all states directly address immigration fraud.
In the end, it is important for immigrants to apply a critical eye to any immigration assistance they may use when applying for immigration in the United States. Not all immigration assistance companies are scammers, but only a few bad apples can give the rest a bad name.