Today local members of Congress and community leaders hailed the Obama Administration's immigration policy changes and its impact on immigrant communities. Joined by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), they are raising awareness to prevent people from falling prey to scam artists and others who try to take advantage of immigrants by distorting the nature and available relief that these actions provide. At a press conference in downtown Los Angeles, Representatives Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) and Judy Chu (CA-32) released the following statements:
Rep. Becerra: "The immigration system in our country is badly broken, and in too many cases, the defrauders are using our broken immigration system to their advantage by stealing the hard-earned money of those seeking essential legal or advocacy services. While President Obama and his administration continue to take action to fix our immigration system and move us closer to a common sense immigration policy, we must stay vigilant in our efforts to protect our families, our friends and our community from the immigration scam artists, whether they are attorneys, notarios or those posing as professionals."
Rep. Roybal-Allard: "President Obama deserves credit for shifting the federal government's enforcement focus from families to felons. The administration's new policies will help to unclog our nation's overstretched immigration courts, enabling them to more aggressively process the cases of gang members, drug dealers and other serious offenders. They will also end the indiscriminate deportation of immigrants with deep community ties and enable more families to remain together while they pursue lawful status. Unfortunately, there are those who would take advantage of misinformation about these common sense reforms to defraud desperate people. That's why we need to remain alert and remind our friends and family members to be wary of these scam artists and their deceitful claims."
Rep. Chu: "I commend President Obama for his efforts to modernize our immigration policy. His efforts will allow families to stay together during the immigration process and undocumented students to pursue their dreams of higher education without fear of deportation. But, as is always the case when standards change, there is the potential for misunderstanding and fraud. Since we don't know how the new immigration policies will be fully implemented, I am urging the public to be cautious about scams offering to help individuals with their immigration status under the new prosecutorial discretion regime."
To help avoid immigration scams the US Citizenship and Immigration Services launched the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law (UPIL) Initiative, providing the following online educational resources:
The top things to know before and after filing an application or petition
A list of common immigration services scams
State-by-state information on where you can report an immigration services scam
Advice on finding authorized legal help
Information on becoming an authorized legal immigration service provider
Educational tools you can print and share