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Notary Bulletin

Supreme Court Immigration Ruling Creates Uncertainty For Foreign-Born Residents

gavelthumb2.jpgThe U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned part of Arizona’s strict law cracking down on undocumented immigrants has created uncertainty for many foreign-born residents. The ruling also puts similar laws in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah in legal limbo, and is likely to push many immigrants to seek help with their residency status.

Notaries serving immigrant communities in Arizona may perform lawful notarizations, but they should avoid offering any other services that cross the line into the unauthorized practice of law or advertising themselves in such a way that would suggest they can offer legal advice.

Prior to the ruling, government agencies and immigrant groups in many states expected a rise in immigration service scams often involving people advertising as "Notarios Publicos." In many Hispanic countries, Notarios Publicos are highly-trained legal professionals. The warnings came after the Obama Administration announced that illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children would be allowed to apply for legal residency.

The Supreme Court decision leaves intact the provision authorizing police to check the immigration status of individuals in custody who are suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. It overturned other provisions, including one that made it a misdemeanor for an undocumented worker to seek employment in the state.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor at the National Notary Association.

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