Say “No” to Notarios: Organizations Urge Immigrant Youth to be Wary of Bad Legal Advice
Photo by Michael McCullough via flickr
There are not enough details and individuals must be careful with “notarios,” explained ICIRR leaders during a round table media discussion regarding Obama’s new deferred action for eligible undocumented youth in the U.S.
Although Obama’s recent measure promised some undocumented immigrant youth to work and stay in the country legally for a period of time, questions regarding its implementation and application process are still pending.
Cindy Agustin from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) explained that it is important for all immigrant families living in the U.S. to know the Obama administration has not provided any guidance on the implementation procedures and process of the new deferred action.
Agustin urged individuals to stay away from “notarios,” notary service agencies also known as “immigration consultants.” In many cases, these types of notary services have used false advertising promising immigrants a path to legal status. “It is very important for families to know that there is not an application [process]. Don’t go to an attorney that is promising help with a work permit or to cancel a pending deportation,” she said.
Only in certain cases, once a process is established, should an individual consult with a qualified attorney or an organization that is certified to provide legal immigration services, advised Fred Tsao also from ICIRR. “There are going to be certain circumstances where it will be advisable, if not strongly encouraged, that these young people seek out the advice of an attorney,” he said.
For instance, individuals who have been arrested and may have a misdemeanor offense, or various misdemeanor offenses should obtain legal advice before considering applying once the process is established.
Tsao also recommended that people with an ongoing immigration case, whether it is through a family petition or through other channels, should consult with their attorney before applying.
While there is still a lack of detailed information regarding the criteria that make individuals eligible, ICIRR is now organizing informational workshops to educate the public. The organization also is encouraging individuals to call the Deportation and Family support hotline 1-855-HELP-MY-F(amily) (1-855-435-7693).
Since September of last year, the hotline has provided families in deportation crisis with information on legal social services and ministry referrals. This hotline counts with 43 trained volunteers to help families with questions about the deferred action and referrals to qualified legal assistance immigration agencies.
On Saturday July 14, ICIRR will hold its first training session at Benito Juarez High School at 9:30 a.m. The training session will be held in English, Spanish and Polish.
The following training is scheduled on August 15—60 days after Obama’s announcement.
If, as promised, the Obama administration has a system in place after the 60 days of his announcement, ICIRR will hold a workshop to assist individuals with the application process —assuming that there is not yet a system in place, “we would hold president Obama accountable,” said Agustin.
For more information about Obama’s Deferred Action visit:
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights www.icirr.org
Heartland Alliance National Immigration Justice Center www.immigrantjustice.org
U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services www.uscis.gov