18 Steps You Can Take to Protect 8. Don't sign blank application forms. Yourself From Dishonest 9. Avoid consultants that pressure you Immigration Consultants to pay immediately. 10. Ask questions. You should not hire lf you end up dealing with a dishonest a consultant who refuses to answer your consultant, you are likely to lose money questions. and possibly face removal or deportation from the United States. Where Can I Go For Help? When shopping around for help with Consult your local legal services office, immigration matters, be sure to: volunteer lawyers project (often coordinated through the local bar BEWARE 1 . Ask about the consultant's association), or local department of educational background and work consumer affairs. If you are having experience. problems with a lawyer, call the state 2. Discuss price. If the consultant is not significantly less expensive than a bar where the lawyer is licensed. You may also be able to find help from the of Dishonest lawyer, find another consultant or look for an attorney to help you. state Attorney General, local District Attorney, or police department. Immigration 3. Make sure you get a contract. Read it carefully before signing. In many states, NCLC is a resource for /awyers and Consultants there is specific information that this contract must include. Make sure you advocates on consumer issues affecting get a copy of the contract and any other low- and moderate income consumers. documents the consultant prepares for This brochure was supported in part by you. a grant from the Open Society /nstitute. 4. Be suspicious if the consultant's This information was adapted in part promises sound too good to be true. from other consumer education 5. Whenever you make a payment, get brochures on this topic inc/uding those a signed receipt. prepared by Pubkc Counsel Law Center 6. If the consultant has typed a legal in Los Ange/es, The Immigrant Lega/ NATIONAL form or document for you, read it Resource Center in San Francisco, and CONSUMER LAW carefully before signing it. If you cannot the New York City Mayor's Office of CENTER INC read English, bring someone who can /mmigrant Affairs and Language. Services. p translate the documents for you. In 77 Summer Street, 10th FI. some states, the consultant must Boston, MA 02110 Phone: (617) 542-8010 provide you with a translated copy. Fax: (617) 542-8028 7. Don't let the consultant keep your www.consumerlaw.org original documents or photos. Who Are Immigration promising to get green cards, 0 tell you what kind of immigration Consultants? work visas or other benefits for category (such as asylum or labor ineligible immigrants, certification) you should apply Immigration consultants specialize in filing false asylum claims, for. assisting consumers with immigration charging fees to prepare law matters. They are not attorneys and applications for nonexistent are usually notsupervised by attorneys. immigration programs, and When Should I Consult An falsely claiming to have Attorney? connections with I.N.S. Are Immigration Consultants If a form or legal document is too "Accredited Representatives"? complicated for you to understand or to What Can Immigration fill out yourself, you should notcount on No. Accredited Representatives are the consultant to figure it out for you. Consultants Legally Do? qualified by, and work for, agencies that Instead, you should try to find an are approved by the U.S. Board of In most states, immigration consultants attorney to help you. Don't assume you Immigration Appeals (BIA).These can: cannot afford an attorney. Many representatives are allowed to speak for legitimate attorneys charge less than you at interviews with immigration * give you materials, law books and immigration consultants. You may not officers and in immigration hearings. forms-so that you can prepare have to pay at all if you qualify for free They cannot represent you in criminal or legal documents yourself. legal services. To find out more, contact civil court cases. * give you a list of forms and legal your local legal aid office. documents. You should also be careful when looking * type or fill out forms for you if you for an attorney. Shop around and ask a Typical Problems With tell the consultant what to write. Immigration Consultants lot of questions. If possible, get * file forms in court for you if you recommendations from friends or tell the consultant what to file. relatives you trust. Immigration law is complicated. * serve legal papers o n other Dishonest immigration consultants know this. They also know that the laws parties. Remember: An immigration consultant confuse many immigrants. is not a lawyer and may not know all of the relevant law in your case. Unscrupulous immigration consultants Immigration Consultants Usually take advantage of vulnerable Cannot: immigrants in many ways, including: tell you what forms you need for charging exorbitant fees for your case. immigration services and then fill out forms for you if you do not failing to file any documents, tell the consultant what to write.
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