than two weeks after President Barack Obama announced administrative
relief for certain DREAM Act-eligible immigrants, anecdotal evidence
that some may be trying to take advantage of these families by making
big promises for huge fees.
In some Latin American countries, a “notario”
is akin to an attorney — in the U.S. this is not the case. Latino immigrants often fall victim to unscrupulousnotarios who make unfounded promises related to immigration paperwork at a huge financial
(and emotional) cost to them.
no different with the new DREAMer administrative relief, which allows
them to live and work in the U.S. via this new legal procedure. It
to people with no documentation between 15 and 30 years old (under 31),
who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, have lived here since, are
not criminals, are in school or have a high school credential. There is
also mention of being honorably discharged
from the military.
stories are running rampant throughout the country. Photos of attorneys
asking for thousands of dollars to process paperwork that does not yet
exist have appeared on
Facebook, some organizations are even keeping a running tally of such
photos. It’s to the point that Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez even
posted a notice to
social networking sites telling people — specifically — to avoid scams from notarios.
really appalling to see how these people are lying,” said Adrian Reyna,
Vice President of the University Leadership Initiative, an organization
at the University of Texas, Austin advocating for the DREAM Act. “It
does not respect their dignity as human beings to try to scam them out
of three, four thousand dollars.”
said he’s been trying to work to educate the public about these scams,
but was saddened to realize that, ultimately, some desperate families
will likely fall victim to notario-type
undocumented is desperate. It’s not something that you like, or that is
easy, so you are willing to take that extra step in trying to get away
from it,” and that is the point at which fraud becomes possible, Reyna
So this is what is legit. San Francisco-based immigration attorney Randall
Caudle said that, at this point, the only thing attorneys
can really do is consult with clients and advise them to begin to
collect paperwork that documents their presence in the U.S. within the
required timeframe. The agency responsible for creating
the procedure to administer this process, USCIS, has until August 13 to
create their process, he said. Neither AILA nor
the USCIS recommends notarios; bad advice could have some end up in removal proceedings. There
were a few interesting points that Caudle highlighted with regard to
this process. One, which has not been widely reported, according to a
call with USCIS Director Alejandro
Mayorkas last week, the process applies to people who are under 31,
which is to say, you can be over 30 to be eligible. What’s more, those
with final orders of removal may still be eligible for
this relief, and Caudle speculated that those whose applications are
not approved may not necessarily be deported, since the government still
has prosecutorial discretion to decide who to deport.
also highlighted the fact that the military component of this relief is
“mostly PR” because the most likely way for someone with no papers to
into the military is via fraudulent documents. And the new process will
most likely not allow for these DREAMers to enter the military either,
since they won’t have legal status. Caudle also mentioned that he
doubted Mitt Romney, if elected, could realistically
undo this process without suffering heavy political ramifications.
There are a few other things to keep in mind, Caudle said:
documentation to show you were in the country before June 15, 2007,
this includes school records, medical records, or financial records like
bills. You need to show that you have been here continuously since
then, up to June 15, 2012.
oYou will need a passport from your country of origin.
oYou should get your birth certificate from your country of origin.
commit any crimes, this will make you inadmissible for this relief;
this includes a DUI, drug possession or a hit and run accident.
Here is a list of resources for those seeking more information about how to approach this process: