Initiative launched to protect migrants from scams
WASHINGTON, United States, Friday June 10, 2011 – The American government has unveiled a multi-agency, nationwide initiative to combat immigration services scams that affect people from the Caribbean and other places trying to get into the United States.
The Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are leading what the government said was a “historic effort”. The initiative targets immigration scams involving the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL), which occurs when legal advice and/or representation regarding immigration matters is provided by an individual who is not an attorney or accredited representative.
"We are dedicated to protecting vulnerable immigrants from those who seek to exploit them," said U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas.
"Through our sustained outreach, enforcement and education efforts, and our close collaboration with our federal, state, and local partners, we will provide the communities we serve with the help needed to combat this pernicious problem."
This initiative is set upon three pillars—enforcement, education and continued collaboration—designed to stop UPIL scams and prosecute those who are responsible; educate immigrants about these scams and how to avoid them; and inform immigrants about the legal immigration process and where to find legitimate legal advice and representation.
"This coordinated initiative targets those who prey on immigrant communities by making promises they do not keep and charging for services they are not qualified to provide," said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice.
"We are attacking this problem both through aggressive civil and criminal enforcement and by connecting qualified lawyers with victims who are trying to navigate a complicated immigration system."
As part of the initiative's emphasis on providing qualified legal assistance to the vulnerable population, the Executive Office for Immigration Review’s (EOIR) Recognition and Accreditation programme, the DOJ, USCIS, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are working together to increase the number of EOIR-recognised organisations and accredited representatives, particularly in underserved areas.
Organisations and representatives seeking to provide lawful immigration services must be recognised by EOIR.
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