More States Enhance Education Initiatives, Increase Immigration Services
As part of the ongoing national initiative to combat immigration scams, more states — including New York, New Jersey, and Colorado — are enhancing their education campaigns and expanding services to immigrants. Notaries can contribute to the efforts by educating the public on the “Notario” issue, pointing immigrants toward helpful resources, and always avoiding unauthorized practice of law.
In Boulder, Colorado, the district attorney’s office is distributing pamphlets in Spanish and English explaining how to detect and prevent common types of exploitation — including “Notarios” who make bogus claims of legal assistance to immigrants. Also this month, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), New Jersey District, hosted community groups from throughout New Jersey to discuss new ways to further combat immigration scams as part of an ongoing education program the department plans to expand into more cities and states nationwide in coming months.
In New York, city officials announced plans to expand legal services available to immigrants, including those in need of defense counsel and those that have been the victims of domestic violence.
These initiatives represent ongoing state efforts to combat scams targeting immigrant communities. While non-attorney Notaries are not authorized to offer advice or legal assistance to immigrants, they can help assist by distributing the “What is a Notary” pamphlet — a public service information brochure published by the National Notary Association — which explains exactly what an American Notary Public can and cannot do. Notaries can also help educate the public on various scams and direct consumers to appropriately licensed immigration consultants or lawyers for any additional assistance.
Federal authorities also are encouraging Notaries to report any instances of Notario abuse or the unlawful practice of immigration law they may encounter.