From the United We DREAM Network:
We have been hearing stories all around the country about people taking advantage of the immigrant community. They call themselves lawyers, advocates, or notarios. They advertise their services to “help” young immigrants apply for deferred action under the new Obama policy and charge hundreds or thousands of dollars.
No one should be taking money to help you apply at this point because no process exists yet! It would be unethical for a lawyer to accept money to help you with something when they know none of the details and the application process is not in place.
Right now, we do not even know if you will need a lawyer to applied for deferred action. The process may be simple enough that most people can do it without a lawyer. When the details of the application process are available in the coming weeks, we will provide more guidance on who should use a lawyer.
What you should do
- Make use of free or low-cost legal clinics from non-profit organizations, especially if you don’t have a difficult case (no criminal history or any other issues that may cause your application to be denied. You can find one near you.
- Contact your local immigrant youth organization or another immigrant advocacy organization in your community and ask them to refer you to a good lawyer.
- Use the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s directory to find a lawyer.
- Make sure your lawyer is a member of her/his state’s bar association before you use him/her (you can search for your state bar association membership directory online).
What you should NOT do
- Don’t give anybody money yet! There is no application process at this time. Keep visiting unitedwedream.org and we will update you as the situation changes.
- Don’t use the services of anyone calling themselves a notario or an unlicensed lawyer.
- Don’t use the services of anyone promising to get you a green card as the result of the new Obama policy.
- Don’t use a lawyer’s services just because they advertise somewhere or they are a friend of your family.
If you have become the victim of a scam by a lawyer or notario you should report it to federal or state consumer protection agencies. For more information you can visit http://www.stopnotariofraud.org.