Marc Veasey and Verónica Escobar Intro Bill to Fight Fraud in Immigration Representation
Some take advantage of immigrants by claiming that they are experts on immigration law and have permission to give legal advice about immigration cases when they do not. Many of these individuals -- who often call themselves “notario publicos” or “immigration consultants” -- lack sufficient training or knowledge of immigration law and their advice oftentimes creates serious problems for immigrants. Congressman Marc Veasey (D-TX) and Congresswoman Verónica Escobar (D-TX) last week introduced the Notario Victim Relief Act to give immigrants an opportunity to seek legal asylum status, permanent residency, or protected temporary stay after falling victim to fraudulent legal representation. For many immigrants, false legal representation could mean a denial of temporary protective status or a deportation order. From the termination of DACA to the humanitarian crisis at our southern border, the U.S. immigration system has become even more impossible to navigate for immigrant families. “The chaos caused by Trump has created a perfect breeding ground for notario publicos, who prey on immigrant families looking to lawfully stay in our country. This bill is an important step to protect vulnerable and too often unseen victims of our broken U.S. immigration process,” said Veasey. The legislation would amend the statute of limitations in the Immigration and Nationality Act to remove the 90-day time limit to refile immigration-related paperwork for victims of legal misrepresentation or negligence. Victims would have an opportunity to reopen their cases, seek proper legal services, and file a motion to reopen a removal proceeding without time constraints. “Unfortunately, ‘notarios’ exploit many in border communities like my hometown of El Paso,” said Escobar, a former judge. “This legislation will enable victims of fraud a second chance to obtain their desired immigration relief.” More here.