Undocumented Being Ripped Off Because of Misinformation Over New Program


On March 4, the Department of Homeland Security began accepting applications for a new program allowing some immediate family members of United States citizens to apply for a stateside adjudication of a waiver, allowing them to obtain permanent residence despite previously being undocumented. I have written about this new program before so I will not go into it again now. What I want to write about are troubling reports that some undocumented immigrants are being ripped off by unscrupulous operators claiming that this is some sort of a new “amnesty.”

Whenever there are changes for the good in immigration law, there are always people willing to take advantage of the good news to confuse desperate immigrants and steal their money. Because immigrants are hearing about the push for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington and because they saw reports this week of this new program, some charlatans are combining the two reports and claiming that there is a new amnesty that the undocumented can apply for now.

This is simply not true.

The new waiver program is only available to the spouses, parents, and children of United States citizens. Other undocumented immigrants, even those with brothers or sisters who are United States citizens or whose spouses are Permanent Residents, are not eligible for it. If you want more information on this program you can call CARECEN at 516-489-8330.

The fact that we are already seeing con men using the push for immigration reform to scam the vulnerable, means that immigrants must be very careful in deciding who they give their money to. If immigrants continue to fall prey to these schemes, then more con men will enter the fray and try to make money off of the misery of others.

Community groups that serve immigrant communities should stay on top of developments in the push for immigration reform to help safeguard the undocumented from consumer fraud. When a general legalization program begins it will not be a secret. There will be widespread publicity for it and community forums offered by groups like CARECEN. You can continue to check here on Long Island Wins for the latest updates. You can also call CARECEN at 516-489-8330 or Catholic Charities at 631-789-5210 for clarification.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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