Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Who Can Provide Immigration Related Services?

Did you now that only authorized lawyers or representatives accredited by the Justice Department to represent people before the US immigration authorities can provide immigration services?

According to New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s office, New York State and federal law only authorize lawyers or representatives accredited by the Justice Department to represent people before the immigration authorities. Anyone providing immigration services must also comply with strict rules governing contracts and advertising. In addition, it is illegal for nonprofit immigrant service providers to charge excessive fees for services, according to New York Attorney General’s office; the services must be provided free or at a nominal rate.

In a press release on June 8, 2010, the Attorney General announced lawsuits against several Brooklyn New York based companies which he stated were defrauding the Haitian community with fraudulent immigration services following the earthquake which devastated the Haitian Port-au-Prince capital region. The lawsuit is against Chay Pa Lou Community Center, Inc., Delegue Tax Consultant, Inc., and their owner and operator Jean Michel; as well as Rincher’s Multi-Service a/k/a Rincher Bookstore a/k/a Rincher Associates a/k/a Haitian American Entrepreneur’s Group, LLC, and their owners and operators Deslande Seixas-Rincher, and Sharlene Seixas-Rincher.

In the lawsuits, which are part of the Attorney General’s continuing investigation into immigration fraud; the Attorney General alleges that the three companies and their owners provided illegal advice and immigration services to Haitian immigrants because they are not lawyers. Non-lawyers are prohibited from providing legal advice or representing anyone before immigration authorities according to the Attorney General. Additionally, the companies are charge with charging their Haitian immigrant clients thousands of dollars for processing immigration applications that could be filed for free through a waiver.

If you or your company is in the business of providing counseling or advise to immigrants, make sure that you and your business is properly structured and legally registered with the US immigration authorities and avoid the hassle of being sued. Now you know!

By Tom Okure, Ph.D

Post a Comment