U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) have reintroduced the Protecting Immigrants from Legal Exploitation Act.
The bill provides for specific penalties for notarios, or state-appointed lawyers in Latin American countries, who intentionally mislead immigrants by providing fraudulent services. It also provides immigrants with the opportunity to resubmit application materials completed by fraudulent attorneys.
“With the implementation of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration at hand, it is critical that we work to combat notario fraud," Foster said. “This legislation will help protect immigrants from exploitation from fraudulent ‘notarios’ who are taking advantage of our broken immigration system."
Foster stressed the legislation will provide needed protection to immigrants.
"Not only do ‘notarios’ exploit immigrants for money, but their false services can, and many times have, resulted in well-meaning immigrants being deported because they didn’t receive accurate information on the immigration process," he said. "We must do more to stop these predators who are exploiting immigrants attempting to play by the rules."
The legislation also provides grant funding for disseminating information on avoiding fraudulent legal services and supporting nonprofits that provide legal services to immigrants.