This is the fifth installment in a series of articles written to help Dreamers get ready for the new deferred action program. Click here for more articles.
While supporters of President Obama’s new deferred action program for undocumented youth see the Dreamers as hardworking and intelligent immigrants, there are swindlers who see the same young people as just another way to make money. We are already hearing of immigrants across the country who are being asked for thousands of dollars to apply for the new program, and there isn’t even an application process in place yet.
One of the most common sources of immigration rip-offs are people who identify themselves as “notarios.” In many parts of Latin America, a notario is equivalent to an attorney. Latino immigrants are often unaware that in the United States a notary (“notario”) has no special legal training and few responsibilities apart from verifying the signatures on the bottom of documents. Notarios in New York are not lawyers and are forbidden by law from offering legal advice.
If a notario offers to advise you in applying for the new deferred action program, he or she is violating the law. Every year thousands of immigrants are harmed by notarios, so many, in fact, that a website has been set up to report abuses.
This week, we will likely find out details about the application process for Dreamers. Don’t turn your future over to thieves. You should only get legal assistance from a licensed attorney or from non-profit organizations like CARECEN (516-489-8330) and Catholic Charities (631-789-5210).
CARECEN is offering free workshops explaining the new program for Dreamers. Our next workshop is at our Hempstead office on Monday, August 13, at 3:30pm (91 N. Franklin Street, Suite 208, Hempstead, 516-489-8330). After that, we will hold a workshop at our Hempstead office on Monday, August 20, at 5:30pm (91 N. Franklin Street, Suite 208, Hempstead, 516-489-8330), and a workshop at our Brentwood office on August 21 at 5:00pm (2000 Brentwood Road, Brentwood, second floor, 631-273-8721). Also, I will offer a free workshop on at the office of Centro Cultural Hispano (61 East Main Street, Oyster Bay) on Tuesday, August 7, at 7pm.
Feature image courtesy of 401(K) 2012 via Flickr.