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Upcoming Senate Vote On California Bill Threatens To Eliminate Valuable Low-Cost Resource For Immigrants

LOS ANGELES - June 30, 2017

AB 638 Harms Immigrants And Will Cost Thousands Of Californians Their Jobs

The National Notary Association (NNA) opposes California Assembly Bill 638 (Caballero) and strongly encourages the immigrant community to write or speak to their state Senators to retain access to affordable, licensed and bonded help with non-legal immigration matters. Letters must be submitted before noon on July 5 (see details below). Advocates for the immigrant community can also attend the California State Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on July 11 at 1:30 p.m. in Sacramento to voice their opposition to AB 638.

AB 638 puts thousands of registered and bonded immigration consultants and their employees out of business. Eliminating this resource will hurt immigrants and people who cannot afford an attorney will continue to seek out affordable providers. Their need for lower cost options will drive them to unregistered providers, notarios and other criminals if they cannot wait for help from an accredited representative. The bill also repeals the mandatory $100,000 Immigration Consultant surety bond -- the one effective and sure means available to victims for recouping their financial losses if they do encounter a “bad apple” immigration consultant.

“The author and sponsors of AB 638 mistakenly assume these bad actors will go away if AB 638 becomes law. They brazenly break the law now and will not be deterred if AB 638 is enacted, especially since the penalties under AB 638 are no greater than they are today,” said Bill Anderson, NNA Vice President of Government Affairs. “Immigrants will continue to be scammed and these crimes will go unreported to law enforcement because immigrants fear being deported if they come forward.”

As rightly noted by the Assembly Judiciary Committee, the bill creates a sizeable gap in the availability of immigration services that cannot be filled by attorneys and the less than 300 federally recognized organizations and accredited representatives. This restricted supply of service options also will cause fees for legal services to rise for those immigrants considering hiring an attorney, making it even less likely that they will choose to retain counsel.

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.

 

How You Can Help The Immigrant Community

STEP 1: Write an original letter in English and in your own words (see below for tips). Please address all letters to the Honorable Hannah-Beth Jackson, Chair, California State Senate Judiciary Committee, State Capitol, Room 2187, Sacramento, CA 95814.

STEP 2: Fax all letters to (916) 403-7394 and (916) 414-3681. You must fax your letter to both numbers no later than Wednesday, July 5 at Noon.

STEP 3: Send the NNA a copy of your letters to nna@nationalnotary.org

 

Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points

  • Introduce yourself, state where you live and that you oppose AB 638.
  • State that immigrants will be hurt by AB 638 because they will have fewer options and less access to affordable, non-legal immigration help.
  • Point out that AB 638 won’t stop unregistered providers, notarios and criminals from defrauding immigrants.
  • Make the following sentence the last paragraph of your letter, before your signature: “For these reasons, I respectfully ask for your NO vote on AB 638.”
  • Sign your letter in your handwriting.
  • If you’re an immigrant who used a registered and bonded immigration consultant, state what your cost was and how much you saved by not using an attorney for your non-legal matter.
  • If you’re an immigration consultant:
    • Include the number of years you’ve been providing the service and approximately how many immigrants you have helped during your career.
    • State that many immigrants just need help translating and entering their answers to questions on immigration forms and that’s what you do.
    • AB 638 won’t stop unregistered providers, notarios and criminals from defrauding immigrants, but it will put you and your employees (state how many) out of business.