LA County Proposal Moves to Stop Fraudulent Immigration Services

(ESPAÑOL) Fraudulent immigration services destroy the lives of another family in this country, and a Los Angeles ordinance aims to end it. Immigration officials picked up Nancy Landa one night in September of 2009. Landa, Cal State Northridge’s first Latina student body president a few years before, was deported to Mexico without her parents.

Although Landa and her family filed their immigration papers, they fell victim to fraudulent immigration services, resulting in her and her brother’s deportation from the country after two decades of living in Los Angeles. Landa is only one of many victimized by these con services throughout L.A. County.

Accordingly, supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Keuhl proposed on Tuesday than an ordinance to stop fraudulent immigration services be drafted and presented to the county board for vote by year’s end. The supervisors proposed that the ordinance require all immigration consultants to be licensed and those that give faulty advice be penalized. This ordinance would potentially protect around 800,000 residents who are eligible for citizenship and more than 50,000 eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

The law would restrict immigration consultants to help fill out paperwork and bar them from dispensing advice for money. The ordinance would specifically target and restrict notarios, or notary publics. Notary publics in Latin America are almost equivalent to lawyers and are authorized to represent others before the government. In the U.S., someone with the title of notary public can only witness signatures and authenticate documents. Presumably, said notary publics can (legally) advertise themselves as notaries to help-seeking immigrants and but represent themselves as having more legal authority than they actually have.

The proposal for the ordinance comes a few weeks after Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced he had secured convictions against a San Fernando Valley woman for the unlicensed practice of immigration law at Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional on Van Nuys Boulevard. He said Gloria Dora Saucedo and her business, Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, were performing unauthorized paralegal services. Some clients allege their immigration status was affected, Feuer said in a statement.