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Immigration Consultants

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					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.