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The National Notary Association Opposes California Assembly Bill 638

LOS ANGELES - April 07, 2017

AB 638 Harms Immigrants By Denying Access To Low-Cost, Non-Legal Immigration Services

The National Notary Association (NNA) is opposing California Assembly Bill 638 (Caballero) — eliminating for-profit immigration consultants — and urges California legislators to implement a more practical and effective alternative. The NNA believes the bill will not reduce or end immigration consultant fraud. Rather, it will hurt the immigrant population it aims to protect by eliminating access to law-abiding immigration consultants who offer low-cost, non-legal services and forcing immigrants with limited resources to seek out less trustworthy options. AB 638 would also repeal the mandatory $100,000 immigration consultant surety bond, the one effective and sure means available to victims for recouping their financial losses.

The NNA is calling on the bill author to amend the bill to instead require all immigration consultants to take an education course on the laws and responsibilities of immigration consultants upon initial filing and every two years thereafter. Through decades of experience in training California Notaries, the NNA learned that ongoing education is the single, most effective tool in preparing individuals who take on the important consumer protection roles of Notary Public and immigration consultant.

The NNA regularly reports cases of unscrupulous notarios who have harmed hard-working immigrants in its member publications. Instead of abolishing ethical immigration consultants, the NNA believes that stricter enforcement of existing laws is needed to compel corrupt immigration consultants and notarios to comply with the law. Currently, immigration consultants are required to file a disclosure and a surety bond with the Secretary of State. These measures protect the public and incentivize the immigration consultant to engage in lawful and ethical conduct. The bond is particularly effective because the surety must pay losses on the bond even if the immigration consultant is unable to pay damages or restitution awarded by a court.

About the National Notary Association:

Established in 1957, the National Notary Association (NNA) is the leading professional authority on the American Notary office and is dedicated to educating, serving and advocating for the nation’s 4.4 million notaries. The NNA published the Model Notary Act and the Model Electronic Notarization Act to help lawmakers enact effective legislation and created The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility, a standard for best practices and professional conduct. To learn more, visit NationalNotary.org.