It seems that every day there is some announcement about U.S. immigration policy or immigration reform. It also seems that with every such announcement, immigration lawyers are flooded with inquiries by the documented and undocumented, as well as their U.S. citizen friends, seeking ways to take advantage of this perceived newfound benefit. Unfortunately, some “immigration advisors” also get those inquiries and seek to take advantage of what to them is a golden opportunity to reap great financial rewards from those who can ill afford the loss. The desperate, the poor and uninformed are easy prey for those notarios, “immigration advisors,” or others involved in the unauthorized practice of law.
The most recent rumor is the specter of amnesty for those illegally in the U.S. The truth of the matter is there is no amnesty. The policy announcements made by the Obama Administration in August only concern a slight change in the attitude of the government to the priorities and process to be considered by the immigration service in seeking the deportation of undocumented individuals from the United States who have been convicted of crimes. The August announcement in no way confers a right upon any non-citizen to either remain in the United States, obtain permission to work, bring other relatives to the United States, or any other independent immigration benefit. If you know of anyone who is either undocumented or simply a non-citizen, who is here legally and is seeking a change of their status, encourage them to either seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer or to contact a legitimate non-profit service organization that can properly evaluate that individual’s status and advise her or him as to the best path to follow for the particular immigration benefit sought. The detention facilities of the USCIS are filled with unwary individuals who have paid thousands of dollars to unscrupulous so-called “immigration advisors” who take advantage of the poor or uninformed and often leave them worse off than before they sought the advice of that so-called “immigration advisor.” Do not let someone you care about become a victim who looses more than just money; they can forever be barred from remaining in or returning to the U.S.