President Obama had barely completed his speech about his intention to enact immigration reform through the use of his executive authority before immigration activists were warning immigrants about the possibility of falling victim to scam artists taking advantage of the confusion over the upcoming changes to the nation’s immigration system.
Attorney Ginger Jacobs says that she and other advocates are only too aware of the horror stories reported by some immigrants taken for a ride by scammers.
“Anything related to immigration tends to have this activity associated with it,” says the senior immigration legislative analyst for Latino advocacy group National Council of La Raza, Laura Vazquez. “There are people who really want to get right with the law and seek any opportunity to adjust their status. They sometimes believe things that aren’t true.”
Similar warnings have been issued by Mexican consulates and Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California, following Obama’s announcement, which is expected to safeguard up to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of being deported. Many of these scammers have been ‘consultants’ or unscrupulous attorneys who give bad advice or take money from the desperate under false pretenses.
There are believed to be around 2.4 million undocumented immigrants living in California, and on Tuesday Harris issued a long consumer alert warning of the possibility of falling victim to a scam. She advised immigrants to ensure that attorneys have real licenses and that advisers have the recognition of the Board of Immigration Appeals with the US Justice Department.