02 Jan Immigration scams to avoid
By Atty. Crispin Caday Lozano
The USCIS give the following notice. “We don’t want you to become a victim of an immigration scam. If you need legal advice on immigration matters, make sure the person helping you is authorized to give legal advice. Only an attorney or an accredited representative working for a Board of Immigration Appeals-recognized organization can give you legal advice.”
The following are the Common Immigration Scams
Phone scams are among the most common type of scams targeted at immigrants. These callers often pose as USCIS or other government officials. These scammers often ask for information such as your social security number if you are a U.S. citizen, your passport number or an A-number. They often give you false information informing you that there is an issue with your immigration record and are seeking payment to rectify those issues. Be aware that USCIS never calls an immigrant seeking payment for immigration applications or to correct your immigration history.
You can avoid this scam by simply telling a caller “No, Thank You,” and hanging up the phone. These callers are just seeking enough information from your so they can steal your identity. If you have received a call from someone posing as a USCIS official report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission.
In Latin-American communities, there are many people who advertise “Notario Publico” services to immigrants. In Spanish speaking countries, a “notarios” are qualified attorneys, but in the U.S. a “notario public” (notary public in the English) is not a legal expert, they are individuals that witness signing of important documents and have do not necessarily have any legal training with immigration matters.
If a “notorio” offers to help you with your visa or citizenship application you should make certain they are qualified to practice immigration law in the U.S. before giving them any money.
Local Businesses That Charge to File USCIS
Some local businesses promise to help immigrants with their USCIS applications for a fee. These fees are typically more costly than filing your form with the USCIS directly. These businesses often have no legal expertise and you may be shelling out hundreds to thousands of dollars for nothing. If you need help filing out any immigration applications it is better to retain an immigration attorney.
Any person or business who promises to get you a visa quickly is not being honest with you. There is no way to speed up or change the processing of visa applications. These scammers often prey on immigrants when it’s time for the USCIS to award diversity visas.
Tips to Help You from Becoming a Victim of an Immigration Scam
These tips directly from the USCIS can help you avoid being the target of an immigration scam
Do not sign any blank documents or documents you do not understand
Do not sign any documents that contain incorrect or false information, this could dramatically affect your immigration status.
Do not let anyone keep your original documents.
Do not pay more than nominal fees to anyone who is not an immigration attorney or make any payments over the internet.
Always get a receipt for the services rendered.
The Federal Trade Commission reported an increase in immigration scam just after the pronouncement of President Trump of new immigration policies.
There are many immigration scams to deal with such as:
Giving a fake green card or work permit or fake Social Security Number.
Unauthorized practice of law by “notario publico” and consultants
Website posing as government agencies and collecting filing fees
Offer of employment and getting money but the employer is not available
Some scammers are posing as ICE agent over the phone to threaten deportation based on tip that the marriage is not real. It is also possible to show a fake search warrant but it is not common.
These scams worsen the flight of undocumented immigrants. Aside from the emotional burden, they spent thousands of dollars in unnecessary expenses and if not properly addressed may lead to their deportation for filing a wrong application such as filing asylum when they are not qualified or adjusting status when they do not have the right documents.
Undocumented immigrants must consult and deal with authorized immigration attorney or civic organizations authorized to perform immigration work. They should not deal with consultants who can make their case worse than before.
Undocumented immigrants need to remember that they have a constitutional right to defend themselves in all aspect of their immigration case no matter what their situation right now. They need to check the authenticity of the persons they are dealing with and the offer or plan or action they are confronted with.
They can also check online with the USCIS website to know what actions to take in their particular situation
For the month of November 2018, we received approvals of two adjustment of status, one naturalization and one U visa petition.
- For the month of October 2018, we received five approvals of N-400 and one approval for adjustment of status, two approvals of I-601A waiver of unlawful presence and one I-751 Removal of Condition on Residence.
- On September 19, 2018, we received an approval of N-400 naturalization application and one Fiancée visa petition..
- For the month of August 2018, we received an approval of four Naturalization applications and five adjustment of status applications.
- On July 27, 2018, we received an approval for permanent resident for a client who was abused by her spouse under VAWA.
- For the months of May to June 2018, we have received four Naturalization applications approvals and two Adjustment of Status approvals
- On April 18, 2018, we received a grant of waiver from Immigration Court for a husband and wife client who made a misrepresentation of their marital status but has no criminal records, has long residence and strong family ties in the U.S.
- On April 12, 2018, the Immigration Judge in San Francisco approved a waiver of misrepresentation in applying for a visa for our client who has been in the U.S. for 26 years, no criminal record and strong family ties in the U.S.
- On April 3, 2018, we received an approval from USCIS for a U visa for a client who was a victim of crime.
- For the month ending March 31, 2018, we received approvals for four naturalization applications.
- For the week ending March 31, 2018, we received approvals of six Adjustment of Status, two Application to Remove Condition on Residence and two Renewal of Green Card approvals.
- On March 9, 2018, we received an approval from USCIS for adjustment of status for a client who was abused by her spouse. The I-601 waiver was approved based on extreme hardship.
- On February 15, 2018, we received a grant from Immigration Judge for a waiver of misrepresentation for a client who has been in the U.S. for long period of time.
If you have immigration problems the Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano can help you find a solution before your problem gets worse which could lead to deportation and family separation.
Crispin Caday Lozano, Esq. is an active member of the State Bar of California, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and San Francisco Trial Lawyers. His contact phone is 1-877-456-9266, email: firstname.lastname@example.org