Don’t Be a Victim of Immigration Fraud, says USCIS

Immigration fraud is a serious crime that often targets US immigrants. Immigrants working their way through the US immigration process often need help with their applications, and, unfortunately, some criminals take advantage of this fact in order to cheat immigrants of money. US immigration fraud takes many forms, and one popular form of fraud occurs when someone who is not qualified to give legal advice gives immigrants such advice. The USCIS has issued a warning about this type of US fraud. The USCIS warns immigrants that it is important to:

1) Understand that a US immigration attorney,  and only such an attorney, can give legal advice or represent you in court or before the USCIS. Notarios, notary publics, and immigration consultants will sometimes take money from an immigrant, claiming to offer such services, but this is not the case.

2) Avoid signing documents that are blank, inaccurate, or confusing. If you are given a document to sign by any notary public, attorney, immigration consultant, or anyone else, make sure to read it. If you do not understand the document, ask to take a copy home and have a trusted interpreter read it over with you. Never sign blank papers or documents Ú or documents that have blanks where additional information may be printed in. If a document contains inaccurate data of any kind, refuse to sign it. When you sign something, it is legally binding, so you need to make sure that the document is something you understand and agree with.

3) Keep your original documents. When an unscrupulous person has your original documentation, you will have a hard time getting that documentation back or even applying for immigration processes.

4) Be careful about payments. Never make payments on the Internet or in person unless you understand what the costs are for and unless you have get an accurate receipt for the payment. Do not pay large fees to people who make misleading or unlikely claims. No genuine US immigration attorney, for example, could guarantee you a green card in exchange for money.

5) Make sure that you have copies of documents that are submitted or prepared on your behalf. Even if someone completes and files documents on your behalf, you are responsible for what you submit to the USCIS, so make sure to get copies in case there are any problems later on.

6) If you need an immigration attorney, make sure that the attorney specializes in US immigration law and is recognized by your bar association and by professional associations. Get recommendations from past clients before hiring an attorney. Make sure that the accredited representative or attorney can represent you before the USCIS.