What is Immigration Services Fraud?
Fraud can occur when non-lawyers prey on immigrants’ desire for legal status, lying to their victims about their own qualifications to provide immigration assistance and about the availability of visas. They often rob their immigrant victims of thousands of dollars and can trigger permanent immigration consequences like deportation. Some licensed but unscrupulous lawyers also defraud their clients and mislead them into paying thousands of dollars for unnecessary and potentially damaging immigration applications.
Notario Fraud Project
The Notario Fraud Project is a new legal initiative by Friends of Farmworkers. Led by Equal Justice Works Fellow Vanessa Stine, FOF now provides free legal assistance to low-wage immigrant workers, with a particular focus on farmworkers, landscapers, and food processing workers, throughout the state of Pennsylvania, using a multi-faceted approach:
Getting Legal Help
If you believe you have been defrauded or would like more information about your rights as a consumer, please contact attorney Vanessa Stine at 215-733-0878, extension 140 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Community Partners and Providers:
FOF recognizes that the first points of contact for many victims of immigration services fraud are local providers, community leaders, or religious leaders. Please know that FOF is here to help – we encourage you to refer potential clients to our office.
FOF is also available to provide free workshops in Spanish or English for members of your community. Presentations may be as brief as 10 minutes or as long as 30 minutes, with time for a discussion and Q&A. The general points covered in presentations are:
o Who is qualified to provide immigration legal assistance
o What is legal assistance
o Why obtaining legal assistance from a qualified individual is important
o What are some of common scams/schemes
o Tips for avoiding notario/immigration services fraud
o What a victim can do if he or she believed they have been defrauded