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
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
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.
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.
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.