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09 June 2011

USCIS Initiative to Combat the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law

All too often, individuals seeking immigration benefits are deceived by people pretending to be "immigration experts." This is against the law.

Common scams include:
  • Falsely posing as a lawyer or BIA-accredited representative and charging customers for legal “advice” on immigration matters
  • Charging for free services such as USCIS forms and InfoPass appointments or charging exorbitant amounts for assistance with immigration services 
  • Falsely acting as a representative of the U.S. government and charging for a green card, employment authorization, temporary protected status or some other immigration benefit
Other people may offer to help you complete your forms and may have good intentions, but are not qualified to provide legal advice on immigration law or your immigration options.

Today, in partnership with several other agencies, USCIS is launching a public education initiative to combat the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL).



Efforts will include public outreach events throughout the country to raise awareness and give individuals the tools they need to make wise choices when seeking immigration advice. USCIS has also worked with partners in the federal government such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to combat this pervasive problem.

The central message of USCIS’s public education efforts is: "The Wrong Help Can Hurt – Beware of Immigration Scams."


Poster: The Wrong Help Can Hurt – Beware of Immigration Scams.

For more information on efforts to stop the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law, please visit our website at http://www.uscis.gov/avoidscams.

148 Comments:

At June 9, 2011 at 1:56:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent strategy. There are a lot of scumbags taking advantage of those wishing to have better lives.

 
At June 9, 2011 at 2:02:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this a legitimate and sincere effort to help and protect those seeking immigration help (as the case should be), or is this just a move by the "members of the bar" to coerce USCIS into presenting this front. Quite frankly, I have seen the fees that lawyers charge, and they are truly exorbitant. Some lawyers will charge you a minimum of $120 just to pick up the phone and answer a simple question that takes less than 20 seconds, like a yes or a no answer. They charge in 15 minutes increments, so that in the above example the lawyer charges $480/hour. And they charge those fees for things that individuals can do themselves.

I agree with this initiative, but unscrupulous attorneys do exists (abundantly), and they take advantage of the poor, as is the case of most people seeking immigration services. But because they belong to their sacred priesthood, they get special treatment.

If I need someone to administer a shot, I can decide to hire a brain surgeon, or a nurse. They both are capable of the task. But the brain surgeon will charge 4,000 while the nurse will be happy with 75.

Why not register non-attorney who would have to pass competency tests (much like the IRS now does with tax preparers), and allow these registered individuals to help those seeking immigration help. Part of the the registration process would involve continued education, during which the practitioner would learn where an attorney is truly needed. Most tasks could be performed by the practitioner at the much, much lower rates.

 
At June 9, 2011 at 4:45:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

QUE BUENA INICIATIVA DEL USCIS PARA COMBATIR A ESTOS ESTAFADORES

 
At June 9, 2011 at 5:01:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

is it illegal to charge a real small fee to help people complete immigration forms and telling them that we are not lawyers and won't charge for and will not give advice?

 
At June 9, 2011 at 5:20:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea! thank you for your help USCIS!

 
At June 9, 2011 at 5:35:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is our immigration so complicated that we supposedly need attorneys to complete the appropriate application? The USCIS is run by attorneys and this "public education" is a strategy to make Visa applicants dependent on legal services and fill the pockets of attorneys. Morally not very ethical at all!

 
At June 9, 2011 at 6:00:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This action is long overdue. However, as one contributor alluded to, some attorneys are themselves the scammers. They extort money from immigrants and threat them with deportation and others. In as much as this law is the right direction, it doesn’t go far. The law should be amended to include a provision to crack down on unscrupulous lawyers who take undue advantage on poor immigrants.

 
At June 9, 2011 at 6:13:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it is more complicated than it looks like. For instance, I have a friend who is getting married and will need a help with immigration paperwork. She went to one place-500$, she went to another place-1200. She did not even think to go to attorney cz it will be much more than that. And I told her that instructions r so very detailed and simple, that everybody who KNOWS ENGLISH can do, so do it yourself and I am willing to check. In my opinion, English is the biggest problem in this case.

 
At June 9, 2011 at 6:47:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously that is something that should be considered long ago, but what about indiduals
who can fill out forms on their own, or have people in their family who are qualified to help them?

 
At June 9, 2011 at 7:35:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so true. The Basic information and forms are easliy filled out and you do not need an attorney uless you have commited one of the acts mentioned in the instructions, such as have entered the country illegally, or have not paid your taxes for the past several years. In our FREE Citizenship classes we not only teach them the history and civics but also offer to type their N-400 forms and show them how to put it together for mailing.

We have met with USCIS, attended Oath ceremonies and etc. We also de-brief students after their interview to make sure that what we are teaching is adequate or any change in interview trens that we can pass on the next students. We have never had a student fail the interview!! That is enough to teach the basics. We have a disclaimer in our materials that we are not attormeys and individuals must seek that assistance if they run into one the red flags. We also keep a list of local, reputable immigration attorneys for them to choose from, or get their own.

The average person should not require the assistance of an attorney. I would bet most of the people getting scammed may have lower educations levels and or bad english comprehension or even have issues and are trying to get by the system.

 
At June 9, 2011 at 7:39:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to add to my previous comment that in 2007 I went to lawyer for free consultation to find out how much will cost me to fill up the paper work to remove condition of residency (something like this) for me and my daughter. Guess what? They made an estimate of 6000.00 + fees. And what they charge for? The form is only one page long-10 min to fill it up, and rest r all my supportive documents.Unbelievable.

 
At June 9, 2011 at 7:56:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about immigration agents overseas who are not US attorneys, and who advise on US immigration laws? Are these people committing a crime in the U.S.? Thanks.

 
At June 9, 2011 at 8:26:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, here’s some REAL information from a LEGAL immigrant, I’s just lucky to be fluent in the American English language, so that it helped me a lot to navigate so offensive legal system. I never paid a nickel to an attorney-sorry, but that the real word to describe. I saw how attorney abuse the illegals, doing the motto “Business of America is business”. Poor people working hard in American sweat shops-yes-there’re sweat shops in this country, but nobody cares. To continue, attorneys getting CASH from scared and uneducated illegals, dragging the case as long as possible. My estimate, it costs 5-15,000 in cash on average to finalize a simple case. Attorneys are racketeering legally people on the brink, sometimes without food, illegals work hard to get their paperwork straighten.
I wish US CIS will do more thorough research on that.
Thank you.

 
At June 9, 2011 at 9:57:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree I was screwed by a fake immigration lawyer 21 years ago I became an overstay on his instruction turned out he had not even filed anything just took my money and said just wait he will let me know when the next phase is ready.. Well I am the son of an American and because of that incident I will never get my green card I had an interview date set last year and was told I would get a 10 year ban once my ban is over I can reapply.. Which at my age now its too late

 
At June 9, 2011 at 10:52:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that most people who seek for immigration matter help are those who do not speak or understand the English, and they do not trust the lawyers.and they are right too. Most lawyers just take the money and never finish the job. Why ? very simple. not all the cases are just fill out the forms or go to court it much more complicate than that. some immigration cases are involved the other Countries and you are telling me the lawyers are in this Country know what they are doing?. is that right? lawyers pretend they know, they took the money, then they tell you the case is pending for ever until you give up and look for other lawyer. I agreed (Why not register non-attorney who would have to pass competency tests )

 
At June 9, 2011 at 11:23:00 PM EDT , Blogger Chío said...

Come up with a competency test and certify those who pass it. Do not do the dirty work for lawyers. Then, dare tell people how much they should expect to pay for certain immigration services. You would be more respected by the people who need the services... however, the lawyers will hate you.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 12:18:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many states DO NOT have an officially recognized Immigration specialty for lawyers. MEANING anyone who passes the bar can call themselves an immigration lawyer.

I used to work at a university and we handled many different immigration issues for students, professors and researchers. Virtually all universities in the country (and many companies for that matter) have non-lawyers handle these functions quite competently. I think the only reason they are allowed to do it though is because they act on behalf of the employer (a loophole)

One time we had an attorney come in to "look over" our files at the bequest of the university. I think it was related to the post 9-11 regulations involving SEVIS or something.

The lawyer looking at our files asked us what a B1/B2 visa was and what OPT stood for and other pretty basic stuff.

Why can't non-lawyers be certified to fill out forms? Seems odd that they can't

 
At June 10, 2011 at 1:20:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Search "immigration support" on Google and see how many scam websites you can find on the first page alone. One of them, for example, charges $40 to fill out the Change of Address form, which is free from USCIS.gov!

Although public education is important, maybe you and other agencies can look into these organization and see if they are "Charging for free services such as USCIS forms and InfoPass appointments or charging exorbitant amounts for assistance with immigration services."

Another tip, search "green card lottery" and see what you find!

 
At June 10, 2011 at 2:45:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have no doubt it is a great idea to come after those who scam immigrant, I mean the real scammers, even though our Government came a little late. I also have no doubt, that this is an attorney association propaganda to get rid of these small honest immigration assistant service whom they are bonded and licensed by their state, whom have family to support and this Attorney's association “as I called it” is trying to put them out of business so they can make the bigger buck.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 7:41:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if a lawyer took your money, but did do anything because your status wasn't in good condition. meaning nothing, ( just took your money and never heard from him again) and then turn around threaten to have you deported if you don't leave him along. Also people ( Immigrant from all over) need help with the one whom are abusing the people seeking legal status in the US.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 8:03:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree, most lawyers do NOT charge by quarter of an hour. And most of us lawyers, are now forced to give away free consultation because of illegal practice of law.

We also need to require that only lawyers can file documents with USCIS. This would lighten the burden on the Federal Government and allow for better, quicker, cheaper processing.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 8:48:00 AM EDT , Blogger Samuel said...

There are numerous "not for profit" or "community-based” organizations that do not have an authorized immigration professional or lawyer on staff or in any supervisory capacity. USCIS should become aware of those organizations as well. They do as much or more harm than the scams and incompetents because they make the public leery about seeking legitimate organizations for assistance.

Immigration lawyers repeatedly see the harmful effects of their work, often when it is too late to correct their errors.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 9:34:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Immigrants need information about the Law, also the website, free phone number, and honest attorneys' offices. Sometimes the problem is the language, and when we call to 800 number the representatives give different answers for the same question.
Thank you for this effort.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 9:38:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. I've provided forms preparation and translation services for many years. Only family-based petitions and nothing that involved appeals or legal assistance or advice. Many of the people I assisted came to me after paying outrageous amounts to attorneys who didn't even take their calls or anser questions and concerns. Some for many years and some resulting in deportation because petitions were submitted even though the waiver to adjust has not yet been reinstated. USCIS should provide training or competency tests as well as register and recognize said individuals and agencies interested in providing non-legal assistance to the community. It is beneficial to the indivudual to be able to have a more active part in their immigration process. I would be first in line to take these competency tests and be able to continue providing these services. Thank you

 
At June 10, 2011 at 10:10:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with your strategy of giving the lawyer full power to charge whatever they want and do whatever they do to get their pockets full of money of the poor.
They never go pro-bono, and they never give further assistance after receive their money, even to give information about cases over the phone.
What your are doing is against the law is called monopoly, and it’s taking the opportunity of other that are capable of filling the simple blanks of the forms.
You don’t have to be a lawyer or expert to fill the blanks in the forms, because the forms are self explanatory.
I agree also that most complicate cases need a professional, such as deportation, and immigration courts issues.
Your intention will raise a national and discriminatory controversy and I believe many will take judiciary actions against your intentions.
Why you don’t go direct to the organizations and some individuals that practice scams instead to take such attitude.
The majority of scams are among lawyers and attorneys, and you haven’t do anything to prevent it.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 10:35:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The instructions in the USCIS website are very clear and helpful for most of the cases involving a Legal Permanent Residence application or a Work Authorization Document, for anybody with a high school diploma, I do no see why I should have to hire an attorney to do that, but a person who can write and read English and of course receiving compensation for his/her time and resources invested. Practicing the law without license is illegal, completing immigration forms following instruction publicized by the regulatory organization for somebody else should not be considered as practicing of law, as doing taxes for somebody else is not practicing tax law.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 11:46:00 AM EDT , Anonymous JoeF said...

@June 9, 2011 2:02:00 PM EDT , Anonymous

This doesn't seem to be an initiative against people helping to fill out immigration forms. In fact, lots of charities do that for free.
This is an initiative against unscrupulous individuals who prey on people, who misrepresent themselves as lawyers, etc.
In your analogy, you can get the shot from the nurse, but if the nurse claims to be a brain surgeon (and charges as much as a brain surgeon), the nurse would get into problems.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 12:06:00 PM EDT , OpenID gunturu said...

It is like beating round the bush, basically one has to go through the reasons for such a complex situation, in which a person should seek an immigration attorneys help for getting simple immigration benefits or visas, or piling up of immigration related cases in courts as below " Wait times have increased. The average time these pending cases have been waiting in the Immigration Courts of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is now 482 days, compared with 467 days at the end of last year.
Basically the immigration laws need to be simplified without any complex intents, by which the public know where they are without resorting to litigation. When the laws are simple the litigation reduces by itself and there will be no place for scams. The immigration officials acts should be predictable as an example why there should be a clause in the act to allow discrition at POE, when one enters US with a valid Visa issued after all due deliberations by visa issuing authority.Ofcourse there can be exception to rule but not the exception be a rule.
At one time I made a suggesstion to remove certain problems being faced by parents of immigrants which can be read at http://www.petitiononline.com/ggk01/petition.html ,the suggestion has been made listing its advantages or otherwise, and to date there are no comments as to why it is not practible to implement. The problem does not effect major population of the country and hence looses its priority.
In conclusion make the laws more simple, there by leaving less place to intrepet differently by different people. The study by Newyork Immigration research study given as under clearly show that the cases with attorneys find more favour with the courts than those represented by individuals.
http://immigrationimpact.com/2011/05/12/another-study-highlights-need-for-legal-representation-in-immigration-court/

 
At June 10, 2011 at 1:08:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that your office is trying to close some of small businesses which have been charging a minimal fee to assist people with Immigrations needs.

I am truly concurring with the idea of combating scams. I know that too many people have been victimized by others who pretended that he/she is an attorney to rip off innocent people. It is essential to go after those imposters.

I am agreeing with one of the comments. I am suggesting that the non-attorney who wants to provide Immigration services be registered with Homeland Security. Homeland Security shall provide training to those non-attorney who shall be tested and attended a continuing education everything two years to keep up with Immigration changes. I believe Homeland Security would benefit from this Idea. The non-attorney shall pay for the training and the continuing education. That will be extra income for the Service.

As far as charges, An Immigration attorney charges between two to three thousand dollars for a simple family case. Where that for the same package a non-attorney would charge $600.00 for the same package. If your office wanted to help innocent people. I believe it would be better for Homeland Security to train and certify provider.

In addition, there are beaucoup non-attorney who have been assisting people with Immigration needs legitimately. Those people have been making their living from that and many of them are well verse in Immigration matters. It would terrible to close those people down.

I am certain that Homeland Security will understand and implement a certification program for Immigration provider.

A non-attorney

 
At June 10, 2011 at 1:56:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an accountant and a tax preparer, and I have been filling out immigration forms for my clients for many years. I have asked USCIS several times if I can do this if I am not an Attorney. They tell that, yes, I can do it as long as I complete the prepare's information section, which I do on all the forms I fill out. I do applications to renew residecy cards, petitions (I-130 & I-129F), citizenship, and permanent residency. I do tell my clients to see an Attorney when I know they can be better served by one.

People come to me because of the quality of service I provide for them at a small fraction of what they would have to pay an Attorney. I know that an Attorney is not required for every thing related to immigration, and it is not a fact that an Attorney will provide a better service. The immigration fomrs that I do are simple to complete. It does take take getther the required infomration and documentation from applicants.

The most important is integrity, honesty, and the commitment to provide a good service for your clients - no need to be an Attorney to have all that.

What will happen to all these people who cannot pay the Attorney's fees, if poeple like me are taken out of the picture?

I do like the idea of registering with the USCIS.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 2:05:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you, Immigration Officers, have an idea of the Attorneys price to fill out an USCIS form? Do you truly believe a regular $7-8/hour salary worker CAN pay a lawyer? Really? Do you believe it?

 
At June 10, 2011 at 2:37:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How legal is it for USCIS/DOS to provide visa number(Permanent residency) for employment based applicants (EB2) based on their category leaving the EB3 category people with older priority dates to just stay in the queue and watch?

 
At June 10, 2011 at 2:42:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We the immigration consultants are already registred with the Ca. Secretary of State, we are the attorney's competition that is why the attorney's had impulsed all this to close our offices. The attorney's are charging to poor people not less that $4,000.00 to fill out a simple application to petition their relatives. We immigration consutlants charge only $600.00, the attorney's want us to be out of their way as their competitors. Hispanis people are poor and they can not afford to hire a lawyer to file a simple I-130. We had been doing business for almost 30 yrs. and we feed our families from our work, now they want to close our business with this law, to make us criminales for being working and doing a good job with them, the ones that registred with the Secretary of State denouncing us as unlawfully doing this kind of job. We are asking to Homeland Security to create a license for us to be able to keep on working with our business and filling simple immigration forms.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 3:00:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a paralegal and handled immigration petitions for over 10 years and I too would like to get a USCIS certification to assist immigrants in completing petitions properly with no legal advice from me. If they need an attorney, I inform them to get one.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 3:43:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is admirable that the authorities are seeking to clamp down on the unlawful practice of immigration law. However, be aware that the majority of people harmed by this practice are illegal. Unless the authorities can give reassurance that coming forwards will not place the individual in danger of prosecution for breach of immigration law (leading to deportation), there is no incentive to come forwards. There has to be reassurance by the authorities that information will not be shared with ICE or the police to act against the complainant. No one is asking for immunity, but just to have confidentiality in the criminal prosecution, not a sharing of information, which will harm the complainant. It is extremely disappointing that this issue was not addressed at all.

Immigration attorney

 
At June 10, 2011 at 3:45:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Forumarsivim said...

There are numerous "not for profit" or "community-based” organizations that do not have an authorized immigration professional or lawyer on staff or in any supervisory capacity. USCIS should become aware of those organizations as well. They do as much or more harm than the scams and incompetents because they make the public leery about seeking legitimate organizations for assistance.

Immigration lawyers repeatedly see the harmful effects of their work, often when it is too late to correct their errors.

 
At June 10, 2011 at 6:09:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great comments and so true... We need a certification program, I help people fill out forms and of course they pay a fee we provide a service. I make sure they know I'am not a lawyer and if they have questions we call uscis directly. I also let them know they can do it themselves but most of them do not have a computer or email address or they just do not feel comfortable filling out the forms. I have clients that come back after I've told them where and how to fill them out and they still want me to review it.. Of course thet pay a fee is my time, etc..
Please give us the opportunity to serve this population that need help and can not afford nor need a lawyer... I'm ready and be the second in line and not the first only because someone already claim that place..
Thank you for the opportunity and hope that our coments help make a deision towards certification just like the IRS is doing..

 
At June 10, 2011 at 6:26:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a non-attorney. I disagree with the above comments. What will happen of an non-attorney messes up somebody's file? Pro-bono attorneys/legal aids with accredited attorneys are available. Thanks to the immigration service that made them available on their database too. Attorneys have been trained for a long time and are ethically knowledgeable that non-attorneys. They are responsible because they know that any mistake will cost them their license to operate. Immigration files are case sensitive. If somebody cannot file, he will see free legal aids and pro-bono services. Also, immigrants get help from social services that connect them to free or little fees.

A non-attorney

 
At June 10, 2011 at 7:55:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous comment regarding that It seems that your office is trying to close some of small businesses which have been charging a minimal fee to assist people with Immigrations needs.

I am in favor of combating scams. I know that too many people have been victimized by others who pretended that he/she is an attorney to rip off innocent people. It is essential to go after those imposters.

I really believe that the non-attorney who wants to provide Immigration services must be registered with Homeland Security. Homeland Security shall provide training to those non-attorney who shall be tested and attended a continuing education everything two years to keep up with Immigration changes.

There are very good non-attorneys who comply with posting bonds' info, that are registered with Sacramento, they have signs posted indicating they are not Attorneys & that they can't give legal advice. It seems to me that Homeland Security would benefit from this Idea. The non-attorney shall pay for the training and the continuing education. That will be extra income for the Service.
These people should be giving a number by the service after complying with the criteria needed to perform non-attorney activities (passing tests, continuing training, etc. being fingerprinted, etc.) like so many accountants and tax preparers do have in order to do their business.

I totally agree that as far as charges, An Immigration attorney charges between two to three thousand dollars for a simple family case. Where that for the same package a non-attorney would charge between $500.00 and $600.00 for the same package. If your office wanted to help innocent people. I believe it would be better for Homeland Security to train and certify provider.

It would be terrible to close those people down since they have also given a good service to the community and clientele not charging too much & following all rules to be Immigration Consultants.

I am certain that Homeland Security will understand and implement a certification program or some sort for Immigration providers and/or Consultants

A non-attorney

 
At June 10, 2011 at 11:36:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS USCIS for the job well done.

Just to respond to some of the complaints:

It’s true that some attorneys charge high fees (usually they do very complicated work), but most attorneys charge very little fees for routine works. Attorneys are legally bound to do work for the fees negotiated before they start work. Attorneys are held liable for the work they do, but anonymous “helpers” can routinely mess up their client’s work with impunity and some even do not have basic knowledge of English. I have no problem about people who are not attorneys but are licensed by the USCIS. One must take responsibility for the work he does.

 
At June 11, 2011 at 8:39:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That’s good initiative, but you are going to the wrong direction.
Many of the scammers are lawyers alone who charge exorbitant amount of money and don’t give the proper customer service.
And many of them don’t speak the language of the applicant.
Why don’t you check the background of those who try fill out forms?
In my opinion what you’re doing is against the constitution, that’s not freedom.
That’s not democracy forcing people to do what you want.
Let the people decide to chose who they want to help them, and instruct them to report the scam if they are deceived.

 
At June 11, 2011 at 10:18:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you will also find the biggest crooks of all are the INS themselves they keep you in this long Carrot in front of the Donkey syndrome of never ending fees and asking for just one item at a time over the years and never really finalizing anything other than one excuse after another.

Take for example the INS number you have to call to here anything about your file now based in Scotland for US immigration it is $16 per call to ask a question they require a credit card up front then in the middle of your call to them once they have charged you they hang up during pertinant information when you call back they will insist on your credit again whilst repeating them selves SIR ITS $16 a CALL do you want to be helped or not?

I was billed $16 for a ref# and email address to write to he said half the ref# then hanged up on me, I called back and actually got the same operator he said SIR I need your credit card I said I all ready paid he said $16 per call SIR, I ended up paying twice and then he said the ref# is.

He knew it was me within seconds calling back he knew he disconnected me but ripped me off for another $16...

 
At June 11, 2011 at 2:39:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

(PART 1 of 2) First and foremost I would like to begin by saying that I think ALL fraud against immigrants should be combated and I appreciate the efforts of our agencies in doing so. However I sincerely believe the approach and the attack on “non-attorneys” is flat out wrong and unjustified.

There appears to be a hidden agenda on this war against “non-attorneys” one in which is not done for the better of the immigrant community rather one driven solely by greed. I completely believe in educating immigrants and making them aware of the fraud being committed by some practitioners BOTH attorneys and “non-attorneys”. That being said I believe rather than attempting to do away with all those who are “non-attorneys” I think the concentration should be placed on doing away with ALL those BOTH attorneys and “non-attorneys” who are committing the fraud and more importantly emphasize on educating the immigrant community. In all sincerity most forms are simple, user friendly and quite frankly do not require the assistance of anyone much less a high-priced attorney. However most applicants feel a sense of confidence and comfort in having someone who is articulate with language, fluent with computers and familiar with the forms to assist them. The key phrase here was “assist them” and NOT RIP THEM OFF! Now I ask you, would you pay an attorney $400.00+ excluding the USCIS fee to fill out form I-90? Would you pay an attorney $400.00+ excluding the USCIS fee to fill out form I-765? Etc… I simply cannot justify paying such a fee for a form that a English speaking high school student can fill out much less pay this fee to an attorney office while their assistants fills out the form, this is strictly nonsense and insulting. Furthermore these ludicrous fees are one of the many reasons on why so many immigrants refuse to go to an attorney for their services unless required or forced to do so. Apparently it appears the approach you are leaning towards is attempting to force these poor immigrants to work strictly with an attorney and this is injustice and should not be tolerated.

I apologize if I have offended anyone, this is not my intention however this seems to be a muscle flex, a power trip and a money driven agenda done so by attorneys and I refuse to sit back and watch without giving my educated two cents. As an active member of the immigrant community I am all for the combat against ANYONE who is committing fraud against our people however I refuse to allow you to insult my intelligence and the immigrant community’s intelligence by telling us that this assault on “non-attorneys” is done for the better of our people.

Unlike many, my passion and will to help immigrants in this country has been my inspiration for the past 20+ years. My passion and drive began as a volunteer for several law firms throughout Los Angeles County, I have been a volunteer for many non-profit organizations and I have been a volunteer for numerous of special immigration events. My time and work is one based on my desire to truly help immigrants and their families, nothing else drives me and I am not driven by any other agenda. Continued…

 
At June 12, 2011 at 1:58:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Viviana said...

can a law graduate not yet admitted to the bar but working for an attorney or a BIA-accredited representative represent individuals before not only the USCIS, but also the eoir?

 
At June 12, 2011 at 12:21:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This "initiative" by USCIS/LAWYERS seems to be purposely confusing and misleading the public .Now it's "against" the law to be a Notary/Notario , or if you are must be ashamed to be one with these mud slinging .These ads and statements throw many factors in the mix,let's analize this :

1)Is it against the law to be a Notary/Notario that fills out immigration forms ?
2)Or if fill out the forms in a non Notary,non attorney function ,it's not illegal?
3)Is it against the law to fill out forms ,period,if you are not an attorney?
4)Is it against the law to charge a fee ? So it's just fine as long as you do it for free? Then you don't need to be an attorney?
And if USCIS/Lawyers and others in the pack are dictating what amount is too much to charge the public , then attorneys and other so called charitable organizations should be regulated as well .Let's also pass this idea on to landlords of private office space , office supply stores,labor department as to paying employees lower than minimum wage because they fill out immigration forms,and on and on down the line of expenses. Tis matter must have been clarified before going public . I see it backfiring already by the results of the comments already posted here !!.

 
At June 12, 2011 at 2:02:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attorneys vs. self-help typists: A reputable attorney in California filed an adjustment of status for a lady who entered the US as an FIANCEE who married a USC who was not her petitioner. The lady was notified to obtain her biometrics then eventually received her EAD using it to obtain a Social Security Number and thus able to pass the Registered Nurse license.
The contract with the attorney was $1000/month until the case is finished.
Four months later the couple as called for interview at the local USCIS. At this time the the lady has already paid $4000 to the attorney.
Fifteen days later the couple and the attorney received a notice of DENIAL of the adjustment of
status application.
The couple went to the attorney about the denial. The attorney told them that he will file an APPEAL.
Three months later the couple and the attorney received notice that the APPEAL was DENIED.
Another visit to the attorney was made. The attorney told them that he will file USCIS Form 290B (Motion for Reconsideration) which was later denied after two months. The couple had been diligently paying the attorney $1000 a month (The lady is an RN who receives between $4000-$6000 a month from her hospital job.)
Another visit to the attorney was made. The attorney said that he is going to file an Application for Asylum for her.
IS THE LADY NOT A VICTIM OF A FRAUD? MAYBE, ANOTHER ATTORNEY MAY ADVISE HER TO FILE A U-VISA.

 
At June 12, 2011 at 10:06:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the implementation of a certification program for non attorneys

 
At June 13, 2011 at 11:40:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a practicing attorney (non-immigration) and one who has been following this situation closely being that two of my closest specialize in immigration law I find this all puzzling and quite comical. The very same attorneys wanting to do away with these non-attorneys are the very same attorneys that get clients from these non-attorneys. What attorneys fail to disclose to the public is that many attorneys work closely with these non-attorneys furthermore I am beginning to conclude as many here on this blog have been saying there may be a hidden agenda or an ill driven intention behind this combat… money. I know many attorneys that do not mind non-attorney’s filling out forms and doing the right thing but this stance that my profession is taking is absurd and quite frankly it makes me question the motivation. Is the house in Beverly Hills not enough? Is the Mercedes Benz not enough? Lets face it the fraud being committed is being done so by all and to point the finger at only non-attorneys is flat out wrong. I agree with the combat against fraud being committed to immigrants however I also agree there should be a certification program available for non-attorneys. Over the weekend I spent some time looking over some forms and personally its funny to think anyone would feel the need to hire an attorney for certain forms.

A Los Angeles based attorney (non-immigration)

 
At June 13, 2011 at 10:03:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fourteen years ago,newly arrived in the US,I lost $3500.to someone who claimed to be an Immigration Lawyer.That was only a DP for myself and two kids, the total being well over $7000.About one month and a half later, his phone would not be answered and eventually was turned off.I never saw him,his home office,nor my money again.Hopefully this new initiative will protect against such cruel and dishonest practices.I like the idea of certification for Immigration providers and a fee scale just like IRS does because this area of one's life is like life and death and too many people work too deligently here to just watch their monies go up in flames leaving them hanging by a thread.

 
At June 14, 2011 at 9:33:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

FINALLY CRACKING DOWN ON SCAMMERS!!!! NOW WHAT ABOUT THERE VICTIMS. IS THERE A WAY THEY COULD GET THERE MONEY BACK OR EVEN WHAT EVER IT IS THEY APPLIED FOR?

 
At June 14, 2011 at 2:29:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am now actively pursuing the possibility of obtaining BIA certification . I have been doing non attorney no legal advise work for almost 30 yrs.Have never had any conflicts or problems with clients that I have filled out forms for .No deportations ,etc.Instead of wasting all this money on this rediculous "initiative" it would have been put to better use by education offices such as this one on becoming BIA certified . Now after all this malicious propaganda , even if we do become recognized by DHS/USCIS/BIA , the harm has been done by creatining panic and mayhem .I agree "scammers" should be done away with on any side of the line . A non attorney who lacks a Juris Doctor diploma , but has far more experience than the ambulance chasers now wanting to get in on the lucrative immigration subject. Thos are the ones behind this initiative. The real professional don't have time to bother with this or even be associated with their kind.

 
At June 14, 2011 at 10:40:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANK YOU SIR! To the above post signed "A Los Angeles based attorney(non-immigration) I can only say THANK YOU. Your comments are fair and objective. I am a 54 yr old woman who single handedly raised my 2 children and provided them w/a decent life ,doing exactly what USCIS/Greedy attorneys are now calling"illegal" practices. I made sure that I survived with this decent and honest work of filling out not just immigraion applications , anything that my community needed help with SSA applications , resumes , making phone calls and translations, my role in this community also grew as did the needs for my services .They have smeared,have caused irreparable damage,causing panic(exactly what they wanted)with this reckless act . It seems as if there are only 2 extremes "SCAMMERS" or Attorneys (A/K/A scammers w/diplomas) they left people like me out.I am so insulted, angry and shocked that USCIS would publicly use these crude ads, such words as "rip you off" .Is the language purposely slang and simple to "help" the community understand their message?It's calling them ignorant. I am so glad to see so much support on our behalf. I do not know what I would do at this stage in my life.It certainly hasn't been greed that has kept me providing these services,it's been a genuine desire and driving force to make a diffence in the people's lives that I help.You see I too am an immigrant , and I don't try to speak Spanish just to reel them in like most attorneys ads.Ofcourse I charge fees for my services ,welfare was not an option for me , my overhead expenses aren't free,office supplies,we provide our clients with a comfortable friendly office. Not luxury , but good service , with central A/C , we do live in Fla.! My 30 yrs of experience and the wonderful people I have provided honest,professional service to are very grateful,they show it by referring friends and family .Again thank you for your comforting comments.We need all the help/support we can get with this obsurd "initiative" . And it's an honor coming from an attorney .You're a good person.Many Blessings.Tampa,FL

 
At June 14, 2011 at 11:09:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes I agree, the attorneys are the real fradulants. Their fees are higher than the sky. If you don't believe it I'll get enough people who have been robbed of their money and in the end get nothing. The poor immigrant people are the victims but the lawyers get away with it. The forms are so simple anyone who can read well can fill them out at a very minimal fee. All you have to do is follow instructions.I'm not saying all lawyers but about 99% of them.

 
At June 15, 2011 at 12:07:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is becoming more translucent that this combat is nothing more than a shameful & dishonorable joint venture between greedy ill driven attorneys and USCIS. I am still puzzled on how these attorneys have gotten USCIS to agree with them furthermore it is insulting that USCIS has not seen or refuses to admit that the grand majority of the fraud and exploitation of our immigrants is done so by attorneys. Open your eyes USCIS you are sleeping with the enemy!

How about a combat against attorneys that exploit, threaten and overcharge our immigrants?

I am appalled that attorneys have blinded USCIS, this joint venture between attorneys & USCIS is a direct assault on immigrants and their rights… the right to have anyone they chose to fill out a simple form that my 16 year old can fill out… shame on you USCIS!

 
At June 15, 2011 at 2:25:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father spent more than $15,000.00 on attorney's fees and he used over 4 different ones. And guess what all of them, STOLE his money and did nothing for him. They used excuses and he didn't do anything to report any of them as he was afraid they would report him or mess up his case as all he had was Temporary Protected Status. Finally, a friend referred him to a priest who was also an attorney and in less than six months he was called to his interview and given his green card. How come he did it in less than six months and the others couldn't, maybe because the others didn't do their job right or just didn't care. What I'm trying to say here is that MOST attorneys are SCAMMERS too, they're just after the money and they don't care about their customers.
And YOU USCIS should go after them too. I personally know many non attorneys who do a BETTER and more inexpensive job than attorneys, so you should look into the possibility of registering these people to fill out forms, maybe after paying you a small registration fee and passing a certification exam. The communitiy will thank you for having options and yes prosecute ALL who have committed fraud and have misrepresented themselves.

 
At June 15, 2011 at 7:09:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the bottom; this is ALL about money as in more money for attorneys and only attorneys. This is a fine example of “I don’t want a piece of the pie, I want the whole pie.” This initiative has NOTHING to do with combating the fraud committed onto immigrants for if it did USCIS would start a combat against attorneys and their financial exploitation of immigrants. Who are you kidding? We the people are not as ignorant as you may think furthermore stop with the BS and focus on educating our immigrants, fight fraud committed by BOTH attorneys & non-attorneys and stop blasting folks that are doing the right thing and who are truly helping the community. Implement a certification program that would allow non-attorneys to fill out forms, filling out most USCIS isn’t rocket science therefore it is ludicrous to think you are trying to force immigrants to only seek attorneys. If you are trying to exploit immigrants you are on the right track, if you are sincerely trying to help them you’re going about it in the wrong way. Come on USCIS, you’re better than this!

 
At June 16, 2011 at 9:25:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If USCIS wants to provide good information on the immigration for the immigrants to enter, must make it simple rule. I have seen Canada/Australia, where people dont hire lawyers, can be easily filled application by themself. It is easy instructions and easy processing.

This agency think everything very complex, why is that so complex? Please break down it into simple solution and give a breathing life for immigrants.

If the fee is 500 bucks, lawyers take away 7000 bucks as legal fee. It is internet era and USCIS can reach out to its customers directly. Please save money for immigrants and provide easy steps, and quicker processing.

 
At June 16, 2011 at 3:10:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me get this right? I can fill out my own forms yet I cannot chose to pay whomever I want to fill out the forms for me? Lets just say I don’t speak English well and I want someone who is fluent in the language to fill out these forms for me, am I not allowed to go to anyone other than an attorney? Lets just say I don’t have a computer or access to a computer, am I not allowed to go to anyone other than an attorney? Lets just say due to our country’s economic downturn I can only afford to spare a few hundred bucks for form assistance am I not allowed to go to anyone other than an attorney?

Something here isn’t right, if I am encouraged by USCIS and all others to fill out my own forms shouldn’t I have to the right to chose whomever I want to fill out my forms? Should it not be my choice to pay whomever I want to fill out the very same forms that I am encouraged to fill out? Last summer when I had to file an AR-11 (change of address) I don’t recall it not allowing me to fill out my own form or instructing me that this form can only be filled out by an attorney.

Your campaign slogan should be “Hire an attorney, they want your money & we approve”-USCIS

 
At June 17, 2011 at 9:49:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

USCIS doesn't have a clue, if they did they wouldn't be throwing immigrants to the wolves (attorneys) in sheeps clothing. They people charge huge "fees" to fill out forms (usually done by the paralegal)these fees plus form fees equal a lot of money! Many of these "attorneys" are not even interested in helping immigrants, to them it's quick money, ask the Real Estate Attorney who was taking Immigration clients, their money and moving to a new location without informing these people. USCIS should be grateful for the practioners who go behind attorney disasters and help these people get their paperwork done properly for a nominal fee. If USCIS post the forms to download or offer them in the mail and immigrants who need help filling them out properly why are they trying to make it mandatory for attorneys to help them? This is a free enterprise country, what's wrong with people making money helping people fill out forms properly? I've been doing it for eight years and I've helped hundreds of people who have been scammed, robbed and ignored by "reputible" attorneys and even one judge. So crack down on them.

 
At June 17, 2011 at 9:51:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Allow paralegeals to do the work. We do it anyway and you better know that we aren't supervised by any attorney while doing it.

 
At June 20, 2011 at 10:53:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this comment period is real and the USCIS really would like to make a decision based on the comments then the ONLY right thing to do is to have the agencies apply for certification, conduct proper background checks on the individuals and the agencies providing the immigration services, conduct knowledge tests and provide education and certification to these agencies for a reasonable fees. They USCIS should make CE (Continuing Education) a requirement so the agencies are up to date with all the changes in the immigration procedures and matters and require these agencies to be re-certified or renew their certification annually or bi-annually based on the continued education program for a reasonable renewal fee.

As far as I understand, the bottom line is accountability. If the agencies are providing satisfactory services, and either already have or obtain reasonable knowledge to continue to provide such services for a fraction of what the attorneys charge, they should be allowed to become certified.

In fact there was a bill introduced in congress in 2001 by Rep. Luis Gutierrez, H.R.654 with the following details and had gained support from several other Representatives as well:

To reduce fraud in connection with the provision of legal advice and other services to individuals applying for immigration benefits or otherwise involved in immigration proceedings by requiring paid immigration consultants to be licensed and otherwise provide services in a satisfactory manner.

The Bill of course died and no further action was taken.

The BIA’s Accreditation process and Recognition is limited to NON PROFIT organizations ONLY. Individuals and other agencies are not allowed to apply for recognition even if they already have the experience and knowledge of Immigration laws and procedures.

It is almost impossible for these agencies to obtain a NON-Profit Status so there is no reasonable possibility for them to ever be recognized or accredited by the BIA despite their apparent knowledge and experience.

If this comment period really is to consider public opinion, please consider granting licenses or certifications to the agencies and individuals with integrity providing honest and reliable immigration services.

 
At June 20, 2011 at 11:05:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The central message of USCIS’s public education efforts sould be “Hire an attorney, they want all of your money & we approve”

 
At June 20, 2011 at 12:49:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad that USCIS initiated this campaign . It's a blessing in disguise . USCIS/Greedy Attys didn't think we the public & applicants as well as non attorney preparers of forms , were as smart and educated on the matter , yes we are not as ignorant as they thought . Trying to mislead everyone by stating that it is illegal to fill out forms for USCIS, it's illegal to "provide legal advise , to misrepresent yourself by saying you are an attorney" THAT IS against the law . USCIS cannot force the public to use attorneys to fill out these forms .On the forms itself (which has no legal language at all)does not direct the instructions to attorneys .I agree "scammers" should be tracked down and pursued , just like any other criminal, attorney , Notary , or anyone else .Why this "initiative" by USCIS specifically directs NOTARIES/NOTARIOS is absurd, and in my opinion discriminatory also by directing at a specific group or associating NOTARY=SCAMMER . WELL ,USCIS/GREEDY ATTORNEYS your plan seems to have backfired !! You didn't expect the enormous feed back defending the right to chose who fills out your USCIS forms ATTORNEY/NEIGHBOR/FRIEND or YOURSELF .So if I fill out a USCIS form for myself I am perfoming it illegally .Yet USCIS has accepted forms and fees for decades filled out by non attorneys , why were this millions of forms and fees not returned to applicants to re-submit filled by Attorney???????? I just hope that the reason for allowing the public to submit comments is a good one , that USCIS seriously reads and uses our feed back for good reason. I submitted comments previously when USCIS first updated this page , yet they were not posted . I wonder how many more comments are left out ?.

 
At June 21, 2011 at 8:51:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this comment period is real and the USCIS really would like to make a decision based on the comments then the ONLY right thing to do is to have the agencies apply for certification. Conduct proper background checks on the individuals and the agencies providing the immigration services, conduct knowledge tests and provide education and certification to these agencies for a reasonable fees. The USCIS should make CE (Continuing Education) a requirement so the agencies are up to date with all the changes in the immigration procedures and matters and require these agencies to be re-certified or renew their certification annually or bi-annually based on the continued education program for a reasonable renewal fee

As far as I understand, the bottom line is accountability. If the agencies are providing satisfactory services, and either already have or obtain reasonable knowledge to continue to provide such services for a fraction of what the attorneys charge, they should be allowed to become certified.

The BIA’s Accreditation process and Recognition is limited to NON PROFIT organizations ONLY. Individuals and other agencies are not allowed to apply for recognition even if they already have the experience and knowledge of Immigration laws and procedures.

It is almost impossible for these agencies to obtain a NON-Profit Status so there is no reasonable possibility for them to ever be recognized or accredited by the BIA despite their apparent knowledge and experience.

If this comment period really is to consider public opinion, please consider granting licenses or certifications to the agencies and individuals with integrity providing honest and reliable immigration services.

 
At June 21, 2011 at 11:07:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this Public Initiative for real???? Non-Attorneys have been filing out Immmigration Applications for decades, long before USCIS established DFS (Designated Finger Print Services) and abolished that too.
Not only do most Non-Attorneys who provide Immigration Services, make a living by honestly filing out applications, the applicant seeking Immigration benefits are able to obtain low priced and honest Immigration related services. If the same job is handled by an attorney, the fees are exhorbitant and in most cases un-affordable.
I agree that in some exceptional cases some greedy people have been scamming innocent immigrants but it would not be right to classify the entire Non-Attorneys who provide reliable and honest Immigration services to be dishonest and term them as scammers. There have been a lot of cases that Attorneys have scammed people as well.
I feel that as BIA has a system of accountability for Attorneys, they should come up with some form of accountability for Non-Attorneys who fill out Immigration paper work.
The only way to hold Non-Attorneys who fill up Immmigration documentation accountable, is to widen the scope of accreditation
Accreditation should not be restricted to Non-Profit organizations but should be open to any person capable and able to honestly perform such services.
Traning, Testing, Contnued Education & Licensing can be part of the norms that can be set up by the BIA at nominal costs to enable the Non-Attorneys become accredited.
I plead that the BIA consider this and allow the honest and diligent Non-Attorneys to provide reliable, low cost and affordable immigration services.

 
At June 21, 2011 at 9:30:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The scammers are the Attorney's not the non-attorney. Please wake up and smell the roses people. The Attorney's want to get all the money and business and they are trying to discredit good people helping immigrants for far less fees like 75.00 per form. Attorney's want 5000.00 dollars per case. The forms do not have any legal vocabulary. They are only DEMOGRAPHIC FORMS. USCIS WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WE ARE IN THE UNITED STATES WHERE THEIR IS FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND ENTERPRISE. WHY STOP NON-ATTORNEY'S FROM FILLING OUT DEMOGRAHIC FORMS AT A MINMIAL FEE. GET THEM CERTIFIED AND EDUCATED AND LET THEM EARN A LIVING AS WELL. WE SHOULD NOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST ANY BUSINESS IF THEY ARE BEING HONEST WITH IMMIGRANTS. THE ATTORNEYS ARE NOT BEING HONEST THEY ARE SCAMMING THESE POOR IMMIGRANTS OUT OF THEIR HARD EARNED MONEY.

 
At June 22, 2011 at 9:54:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in the need of some immigration assistance therefore I went to a “Community Based Organization” (NON-ATTORNEY) located in my city, by the way I am a US born Citizen who married an Argentinean national. From the moment I walked through the doors I got a sense of honesty as I noticed their Immigration Bond posted for the public to view, signs notifying the public that they are not attorneys nor do they give legal advise and signs making the public aware of immigration fraud. The young man who assisted me was very competent, took his time explaining everything thoroughly, extremely honest and being that I had told him I was a teacher he encouraged me to fill out my own forms. In addition he gave me the requirements I needed to submit with each form and the necessary filing fees. Although I was there for over an hour I never felt rushed even though there were others waiting, he gave me his time, honesty and the confidence to fill out my own forms. Lastly he never charged me for his time although I insisted he charge me something he simply said “all the best, it was a pleasure and to keep him posted.”

To make a long story short after speaking with this young man I filed a K-1 Visa, once my fiancé was here we got married and then I filed the Petition and Adjustments of Status for my him, he then became a resident now after two years I filed the Removal of Conditions for my husband and he is now a Permanent Resident. With the help of this young man who never once charged me a penny all of this was accomplished.

Now what I never shared with him is that before visiting him I visited an Immigration Attorney in which I wont name, the initial consultation was $100 in where he gave me the same information the young man referenced above gave me except with this attorney I felt rushed, I felt a lack of trust in him and he told me that this all had to be done by an attorney only and that I should not attempt to fill out the forms myself. After he explained to me with all his attorney gibberish on why I couldn’t fill out my own forms he then insulted me with his “fair” fees… the amount he wanted to charge me was for the K-1 was $1500.00, for the Adjustment of Status $3000.00 and for the Removal of Conditions $1500.00 in addition to the USCIS fees. Lastly I had to provide him with translations and photos. He also mentioned that anything additionally requested by USCIS was a separate charge.

The point to my story is not only did this Community Based Organization help me through this entire process by instructing me what forms to file, what documents to submit and how much to pay your department but I never paid for his services nor did he ever ask me to pay for his generous time. Furthermore the forms were very basic and extremely easy to fill out maybe because I am fluent in English nevertheless I don’t see the need of anyone much less an expensive arrogant unconscious attorney. In the end my husband is now a Permanent Resident, I didn’t allow myself to get taken advantge by this attorney and this particular Community Based Organization went above & beyond what was asked of him and I never paid a penny for their information or time. As an educator for the LAUSD I am saddened on the stance attorneys and your department is taking. I have referred this Community Based Organization on countless of occasions some personal friends and some not and the one thing they all had in common is a sense of relief of not dealing with an attorney and complete satisfaction in an extraordinary job done by this Community Based Organization.

Sincerely,
A 3rd Grade Elementary Teacher LAUSD

 
At June 22, 2011 at 9:59:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel that Immigration Attorney's are taking these poor people for a ride. Some of these attorney's are charing up to 11,0000.00 dollars for a simple I 130 form. Are you all trying to make Attorney's rich. The poor immigrant sales all his belongings in Mexico to pay an Immigration Attorney to file a simple I 130 for his wife and children. Then to find out that they did not file any form. It is sad that USCIS is helping these Attorney's. My friend paid an Attorney in Laredo, Texas 7000.00 for nothing she has not seen results in three years. The attorney did not want to go with them to the USCIS Appointment in San Antonio, Texas. The Attorney's keeps charging them fees for any visit they make to her office. Their case has been denied due to some technical issue they found in their case and this Attorney did not help them at all. She only takes more and more money away from them. I feel that the form is self explanatory and anyone that is literate in English can fill it out. It is a simple Demographic form. You should certify non-Attorney with a competency test. We should stop trying to make these Scam Artists rich which are the Immigration Attorney's taking advantage of the poor immigrants. Is USCIS getting pressure from these so Called Immigration Attorney's? Why do we have to discriminate against the honest Non Attorney Agencies that help these poor immigrants with a minimal fee. Why do they have to pay 5000.00 dollars for their simple I 130 Demograghic form? We all need to get together and go to Washington DC and discuss this issue with the President of the United States. I also want to address how they have slandered the Notary Publics as well. If you are a Notary Public you are automatically a Scam Artist. That is terrible to be called that by Immigration Attorney's that go on TV to state that the Notary Public in Texas are Scam Artists. Why do we have to put up with such slander. We all need to get together and fight this money scheme that is going on with USCIS and the so called Immigration Attorney's.

 
At June 22, 2011 at 10:56:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are you all doing? Immigration Attorney's are the scammers with a license to steal from the poor and ignorant immigrant. They promise the world to them and as soon as they get their money they stop answering their calls and they have their secretary's turn them away. Or worst they move and do not leave an address or phone number. Please review what you are truly trying to achieve. USCIS would benefit from charging a fee for a non-attorney to get certified like the IRS does with Tax Preparers. You can provide training and charge a fee for that as well. For example, on line training with a fee of 200.00 per class, and have them take a competency test to check their knowledge and to have be well versed in Immigration procedures. Think how you would benefit from this instead of ruining non-attorney's way of making a living. The Non-Attorney usually charges a minimal fee and they actually get positive results. For example, they actually help these people get immigrated. They do not just disappear, like some Immigration Attorney's. I do hope you are reading these comments to help the immigrants in our country.

 
At June 22, 2011 at 12:37:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happen to run a Community Based Organization and this is just wrong. I have never defrauded anyone and I personally feel violated by this campaign-initiative. Although I am not personally being singled out nor is my organization this initiative has had a negative affect on my business because of the generalization USCIS has given everyone who is not an attorney of being a “scammer.” This is a total smear campaign, defamation of character and slander one which is not merited or justified. First off USCIS never mentions that an applicant can feel confident in going to a Community Based Organization. Secondly I am not a “Notary or a Notario Publico” never have been, never want to be and I should not be generalized or linked in any way as being one. Thirdly your initiative fails to mention the fraud committed by attorneys and simply recommends that only attorneys are capable of filling out immigration forms, which is complete nonsense, in fact, it is borderline insulting.

Being in the business for over 20 years I can give your department a list of local Los Angeles based attorneys that have done immigrants wrong and if allowed by the immigrant I can provide names and telephone numbers of the immigrants that have had fraud committed to them by attorneys and that have been threatened by attorneys. On the average my organization receives at least 2-4 immigrants on a weekly basis that have been victimized by attorneys or have been outrageously charged by attorneys. You would be surprised of the names I can provide you with, the very same well-known high-priced Immigration Attorneys that you are protecting and supporting. I have contemplated taking their names to the media however I have chosen not to because these immigrants fear being exposed and simply have asked me not to.

I understand, more importantly I support the mission of the initiative however the message USCIS is sending is very misleading, biased and generalizes everyone who is not an attorney as either “Notary or a Notario Publico”, a “scammer” or someone who does not have the competency to fill out a form and should not be filling out a form. This is very disturbing and it appears this initiative has not been thoroughly thought out. As many here have stated if USCIS encourages the applicant to fill out their very own forms, this would indicate that any one could fill out these forms if requested to do so by the applicant. If USCIS feels the need to exploit these immigrants to only attorneys and their unreasonable-insensible fees then USCIS should not allow the applicant to fill out their own forms and there should be a prompted message when downloading a form that instructs the applicant to go see an attorney for this form to be filled out. In addition USCIS should also recommend the applicant take their life savings and all accessible credit cards with them when visiting these attorneys.

The generalization that anyone other than an attorney is a “scammer” is flat out wrong and should be corrected immediately!

A Community Based Organization - Serving Los Angeles Since 1990.

 
At June 22, 2011 at 12:42:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comments just posted on this blog. Immigration Attorney's are out to get the poor immigrants hard earned money and I mean hard earned money. They work in the hot in the fields picking produce the jobs that we americans hate to do. They get paid less then minmum wage and get mistreted as well. Create a certification program for Non-Attorney's and regulate what they can charge a consumer. You should also regulate what the Immigration Attorney's should charge for a simple I 130 form.

 
At June 22, 2011 at 3:15:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I doubt USCIS is reviewing this matter, personally I doubt USCIS is reading the feedback this blog has generated and personally I doubt USCIS really cares about both this issue and about immigrants in general.

If USCIS did in fact care about this matter the solution to this problem is quite simple, certify and recognize worthy and credible non-attorney offices whether they are non-profit or not. During the process of becoming certified and or recognized your department can also benefit by eliminating any offices that have had a negative impact on our immigrant community, it’s that simple. In my opinion a certification or recognition should not be based solely for non-profit organizations, as I happen to think most non-profit organizations are a mockery. Do we really think these non-profits are not making money? If so you must still believe in the “Tooth-Fairy”, no offense. Everyone is in a business to make money or to make a profit, that’s what a business does for if they didn’t make any profit they would not be in existence. In a perfect world all Immigration Attorneys would be non-profit as well or charge minimal fees such as those charged by non-attorney offices. Nevertheless the solution is quite simple, certify and recognize non-attorney offices that are truly assisting our immigrants.

Also if USCIS did in fact care about our immigrants USCIS would not be forcing them to only seek high priced attorneys. If USCIS did care about our immigrants their approach to combat fraud would be on all fronts including and beginning with attorneys. We all know who does most damage to our immigrants, we all know who exploit our immigrants and we all know who does not care about our immigrant’s… attorneys. The writing is on the wall, the proof is in the pudding USCIS does not care about any kind of certifications for non-attorney offices that truly assist the community and USCIS does not care about immigrants.

Lastly I am still waiting on the infamous “DREAM Act” in hope that one day I can live freely the “American Dream.”

An Immigrant.

 
At June 22, 2011 at 5:53:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

DHS USCIS should create a certification program for non-attorneys who are qualified to assist people with preparation of documents and handling of immigration cases which do not require legal representation. For most, legal representation is not necessary unless there are issues preventing the applicants to be approved, mostly those situations are tangled with criminal issues and the complicated intricacies of the immigration law and those who have violated that law to begin with and later seek legalization.
IT IS INTERESTING TO HAVE THIS WITCH HUNTING WHEN THERE IS NOT MUCH GOING ON IN TERMS OF IMMIGRATION; in my experience, immigrants, illegal immigrants, are taking advantage of not so much because they are not informed but because they are willing to paid the money to obtain the impossible. I am not saying that there are no victims out there... we need two to tango!
It's true and agree with several of the posts, attorneys charge a lot for simple and basic services, not always are honest, clients in many cases not even get to met their attorney, etc. Lawyers should not be replaced by non-attorneys where the legal system demands their experties, however, they have no right to lauch an attack against non-lawyers who do honest and effective work on behalf of immigrants; the federal government should not back up a professional league against small people who are making honest living and post no threat to the legal profession.
All USCIS has to do is to keep the community infomed about the existence or non-existence of current programs allowing illegal residents to fix their status; they are, after all, the ones who are continusly seeking the quick fix of papers subjecting themselves to the abuse of others willing to offer and say what the victim wanta to have or hear!

 
At June 22, 2011 at 7:34:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to say that I was one of those who was suckerd into thinking I needed an Immigration Attorney, so I hired a big-shot LA based attorney. I truly enjoyed paying $6,000.00 for my wifes Adjustment of Status: I think it was worth every penny having met my attorney once, speaking to his receptionist 20 times, having his assistant fill out all 6 of my forms and having no need for my attorney at our interview. The the part I enjoyed most is watching my friends wife process of her Adjustment of Status finalize before our case. We started before them, we submitted our case to USCIS before them, we had an Immigration Attorney, they had an Immigration Consultant, we paid $6,000.00 and they paid $500.00. Spending $6,000.00 never felt so good simply to say we had an Immigration Attorney help us, what a joke. Really USCIS? This is what you want to expose your immigrants to? I was a sucker dont let the others be.

Westwood, CA

 
At June 23, 2011 at 11:40:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am still not sure where this is coming from or which attorneys are pushing for this combat. I have been a CA licensed attorney for over 25 years, my office is in Los Angeles and my emphasis and area of expertise has always been Immigration. I have personally worked with many non-attorney offices, Community Based Organizations and Non-profit organizations over the years and for the most part they are all doing a phenomenal job in assisting the immigrant community. That being said I am completely conscious of all the fraudulent activity and its negative impact on the community but we cannot sit hear and solely blame non-attorneys. Over the years I have seen many in my profession excessively over charge immigrants more importantly harm them. Most recently as the economy continues to struggle I have seen many in profession that had once specialized in other areas of law now become “immigration experts” over night obviously for their personal financial benefit. Over the years I have attended countless of meetings conducted by USCIS in where I have built professional relationships with many non-attorneys and in many cases I have been referred countless of clients from these offices because they do not handle specific cases that require legal representation. Nevertheless these offices are getting a damaging rap for a few who have done wrong. Sadly the very same case can be made for attorneys. I have an idea of a few attorneys that could be leading this initiative and shame on them, as I personally know they also work with and receive clients from these non-attorneys.

I have been following closely the blog and it appears the only thing to come out of this all is a negative backlash against my profession and USCIS. Not all attorneys are “greedy, malicious, uncaring, liars, licensed scam artists…” I for one am not one and I know many good and credible attorneys who do not merit this stereotype. None of those associated with me, those that I personally know in my profession support this initiative. I support the combat against anyone who is knowingly committing fraud onto our immigrants. I support continuous public awareness informing the public of fraud. However I oppose the manner this initiative was carried out, this has come across as a “smear campaign” and quite frankly it appears to be one. As a practicing Immigration attorney I support the certification or recognition of non-attorneys and for the past 25 years I have witnessed the good they serve our community. Lets face it, the filling out of forms is not practicing law no matter how you try to portray it and as many here have said “it isn’t rocket science” and in all honesty an attorney is not required in the majority of cases. Let's be proactive, lets truly continue to assist the immigrant community and continue with the positive impact both attorneys and non-attorneys have been doing for so many years. Lets get rid of the bad and keep the good; let’s have a positive approach rather than one with questionable and dubious agendas. Lets work together and continue to help immigrants achieve and live the American Dream.

Another Los Angeles based Immigration Attorney

 
At June 23, 2011 at 1:54:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would also like to say that I was also suckered in by an Immigration Attorney out of 15,000.00 dollars to immigrate my wife. The Attorney has disappeared with my hard earned money. USCIS WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THAT. PLEASE STOP SUCH PRACTICES BY IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY'S IN TEXAS. I AM TRULY VERY SAD THAT YOU ARE GOING AFTER THE NON-ATTORNEY AGENCIES THAT TRULY WOULD HAVE HELPED ME GET TRUE RESULTS.

 
At June 23, 2011 at 8:19:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let Attorneys and Lawyers, use their sophisticates English language skills representing and deffending immigrants in the Court House, instead of filling simple immigration forms.
If I was an Attorney or Lawyer, y really will feel embarazed going to the university learning a legal carear to fill out this simple immigration forms.
Many people need who represent them in court and this take months to find one to help them in court.
This is ridiculos that this professional individuals are complaining against non-lawyers. The problem is they one to take control of everything without care that others honest hard worker also need to pay their bills. Without care that immigrants most of them make the minimun wage.
"THERE IS WORK FOR EVERYBODY IN THIS GREAT COUNTRY"
but monopoly is taking place. Exploiting immigrants making poor poorer, and rich richer, while the midle class, hard worker honest people, can hardly survive.
"ATTORNEYS AND LAWYERS, LOOK MUCH BETTER IN THE COURT HOUSE, PEOPLE WILL RESPECT THEM MORE".
Let non-lawyer get certified to continue helping immigrants who don't have the money to hire a lawyer. Make periodicaly supervicion to cach this non-lawyer, attorneys and lawyers scammers, but don't accuse everybody with the same measure, because not all of them are fraudulents criminals.

 
At June 23, 2011 at 10:14:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

dont use www.usimmigrationsupport.com for any reason. they lie lie lie! and dont expect to get anyone on the phone either. they come up on a google search for us citizenship support. Wrong! dont trust google or GeoTrust or the Better Business Bureau in any city to tell you they know anything about the business operations of this entity but they do take their money to put them up on the web! This entity wants $680 for their fee up front but confuse it to look like it is the exact amount the government takes for a citizenship application. BAD!

 
At June 23, 2011 at 10:25:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO "A COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATION " SERVING LOS ANGELES SINCE 1990, THANK YOU ON BEHALF OF OUR COMMUNITIES AND ON BEHALF OF PEOPLE LIKE US , THAT MAY LACK A LAW DEGREE , BUT CAN KICK MANY SUPPOSED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS WHEN IT COMES TO EXPERIENCE AND COMPASSION WHILE DOING A WORK WHICH REWARDS US WITH A SENSE OF SATISFACTION IN HELPING THESE VERY GRATEFUL APPLICANTS,IT'S NOT MONEY THAT MOTIVATES US . WE ARE ALL JUST TRYING TO MAKE A DECENT LIVING. ALL YOUR WORDS ARE SO EXACT WITH WHAT IS GOING ON , THE DAMAGE AND PANIC THIS HAS CAUSED . AFTER BEING "SCAMMED" BEFORE BY EITHER ATTORNEYS OR WHO KNOWS WHO , WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO CREAT A BOND AND TRUST WITH APPLICANTS . THIS IS QUITE A SET BACK ,THANK YOU USCIS, THANKS MAYORKAS. I AM SO GLAD TO SEE THE OVERWHELMING SUPPORT SHOWN WITH THESE COMMENTS POSTED. I AM HOPING IT WILL BE USEFUL IN REVERSING THIS ABSURD ACTION ON THE PART OF USCIS. WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO POST COMMENTS UNTIL THE SYSTEM CRASHES. I AM PRINTING THEM OUT AND MAIL IT OFF TO OUR LOCAL CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTIVES AND MAYORKAS . THANKS EVERYONE FOR YOUR SUPPORT. TAMPA,FL SINCE 1991 .

 
At June 23, 2011 at 10:32:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

KEEP THESE SUPPORTIVE POSTS COMING , THANKS FOR SUPPORTING THE NON-ATTORNEY ,HARDWORKING , HONEST AND CONSIDERATE WORKERS WHO JUST WANT TO MAKE A LIVING AND HELP OUR COMMUNITIES .
ALSO IF USCIS IS GOING TO REGULATE THE FEES WE CHARGE , THIS REGULATION SHOULD BE PASSED DOWN TO EVERY OVERHEAD EXPENSE WE HAVE .TELL OUR LANDLORDS,UTILITY COMPANIES , OFFICE SUPPLY STORES,SOFTWARE MAKERS THAT SINCE USCIS DECIDED WHAT WE MUST CHARGE , THAT REQUIREMENT MUST BE PASSED DOWN TO MAKE ENDS MEET. I'VE NEVER MET A WEALTHY IMMIGRATION FORM PREPARER . I HAVE MET A LOT OF ATTORNEYS LIVING THE GOOD LIFE . NOW ALL THE AMBULANCE CHASERS ARE JUMPING ON IMMIGRATION BANDWAGON . AGAIN, THANKS EVERYONE.

 
At June 25, 2011 at 1:38:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS DOES NOT SEEM TO BE RIGHT AS IT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE TRYING TO ALLOW THE ATTORNEYS TO GO AHEAD AND CHARGE WHAT EVER THEY WANT TO BECAUSE THE IMMIGRANTS ARE TOTALLY UNAWARE OF THE FACT THAT EVEN A LITTLE EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND THEY CAN DO MOST OF THE FORM FILLING BY THEMSELVES. I KNOW THERE ARE MANY ATTORNEYS THEY DO NOT EVEN KNOW THE PARTICULAR FORM IS REQUIRED FOR A PARTICULAR CASE. I ALSO KNOW THAT ATTORNEY ASKS THE IMMIGRANT TO GO TO THE IMMIGRATION OFFICE AND GET THE FORM AND WHEN THE IMMIGRANT GETS THE FORM FROM THE IMMIGRATION OFFICE THE ATTORNEY CHARGES THE IMMIGRANT FOR FILLING THAT. THERE ARE MANY ATTORNEYS WHO DO NOT KNOW HOW TO PROCEED WITH ANY IMMIGRATION RELATED MATTER.I KNOW THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THIS BUSINESS FROM LAST TWENTY OR TWENTY FIVE YEARS AND THEY HAVE MUCH BETTER KNOWLEDGE ABOUT IMMIGRATION THAN ANY ATTORNEY AND THEY CHARGE A VERY REASONABLE FEES AND THEY ARE RELIABLE PEOPLE. WE CANNOT TORTURE THEM BECAUSE OF SOME BAD PEOPLE IN THE MARKET. I AGREE THERE ARE SOME BAD PEOPLE ALSO BUT NOT ALL CONSULTANTS ARE BAD. NOW THERE ARE SCAMS IN ALL FIELDS LET ME KNOW WHICH AREA IS WITHOUT SCAMS. THIS PROGRAM IS SOLELY FOR THE BENEFIT OF ATTORNEYS AND NOT FOR IMMIGRANTS THIS PROGRAM WILL LET THE ATTORNEYS LOSE TO CHARGE THE FEE AS THEY WANT, WHICH I WILL CALL ANOTHER SCAM.

 
At June 27, 2011 at 1:16:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with all the posts especially the LA IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY THAT STATED THAT NON-ATTORNEY'S SEND HIM REFERRALS. We should stop slandering the Non-Attorney and Notary Public and start a certification program for Non-Attorney's. I also agree that some cases do need an Immigration Attorney but most of them are easy cases. I hope you are reading these comments on your blog. We really need to contact our Legislative Representatives before they pass any more laws to outlaw non-immigrant organizations from operating. We do live in the USA where free enterprise is a benefit to all of us. We do not live in a communist country where the government is controlling free enterprise. I hope you do start a certification program for non attorney's like the IRS did with TAX Preparers.

 
At June 28, 2011 at 12:03:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to let everyone know at USCIS that Immigration Attorney's are scamming the immigrant out of alot of money. First of all they ask them for a deposit of 2000.00 to just look at their case and then 2000.00 per form they fill out. The immigrant hardly gets to talk to the Attorney they only talk to their Secretary. I also noticed a particular Attorney stating not to go to Non-Attorney's on a televsion commercial adversting his business. He slandered the Notary Publics and also the Non Attorney's on TV. Please do take a look at some of these Attorney's that are scamming immigrants out of their hard earn money. It is a shame that USCIS is hurting the Non-Attorney's just to give all the business to Immigration Attorney that charge exhorbiant fees. They also have some of these immigrants deported.

 
At June 28, 2011 at 2:41:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

“The Wrong Message Can Also Hurt”

The present message USCIS is sending WILL hurt the immigrant community more than care for them. Unfortunately the architects of this campaign have failed to thoroughly analyze the big picture. Fraud is wrong and should not be tolerated however to publicly single out non-attorneys and place all the blame on them is unjustified and quite frankly plain ignorant. I refuse to allow myself in believing there is a hidden agenda and a back door alliance between the USCIS and attorneys however all signs point in this direction. Where is the campaign to make us, the public aware of the severe fraud being committed by attorneys? All I hear about is the scam and the fraud being committed by “Notary’s / Notario Publico” and non-attorneys and yet no word on attorneys.

Nevertheless the message USCIS is sending WILL hurt the immigrant community in the end. As stated above the architects of this campaign failed to recognize and comprehend the countless reasons why immigrants chose non-attorneys rather than attorneys. For beginner’s the fees, personally although it is not fraud to charge whatever attorneys wish for their services their irrational fees are exploitation at it’s finest and should be a crime. Also an immigrant gets a sense of trust working with a non-attorney as they deal directly with them and not an attorney’s assistant. The list is long and I can go on forever with reasons why immigrants chose non-attorneys over attorneys however I am sure USCIS is aware of the obvious. USCIS also fails to acknowledge the right of the immigrant to choose whomever they wish to fill out a form at their request. Forcing an immigrant to only seek attorneys for simply filling out a form is the first step in the creation of a monopoly endorsed by the government. This can only be seen as abuse of power on behalf of USCIS to force an immigrant to seek only attorneys and abuse on behalf of the attorneys to charge these poor immigrants unrealistic, extraordinary, ridiculous and unreasonable fees. "The rich keep getting richer."

USCIS, I dare you to tell the public that this is done for the good of the immigrants and please justify forcing us to be economically exploited by attorney fees.

Although we are immigrants, we do have rights as in the right to not go to an attorney or the right to chose who we wish to fill-out our forms.

I am another Teacher (NLMUSD) whose parents happen to be immigrants therefore this subject is very sensitive for me as I know the struggles many families go through simply to earn a dcent living. This campaign is shameful and appalling and I hope the USCIS comes to their sense and changes their tone.

-La Mirada, CA

 
At June 28, 2011 at 7:24:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can smell it from here... smells like money, this is all about money. For attorneys its always about the money and apparently USCIS has sold their soul to the devil. Dont allow the media to fool you, this initiative is strictly about money! Do you really think the attorney charging you $1,000.00 for an I-90 cares about immigrants? Ha. Do you think the attorney charging you $200.00 per hour cares about immigrants? Ha. Wake and smell the coffee, welcome to America $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

 
At June 29, 2011 at 12:52:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being involved in the industry for the past 10-years and having done countless of Affidavit of Supports in shocks me that USCIS would subject these immigrants to exorbitant attorney fees. Most immigrants don’t meet the poverty guideline set forth by US Department of Health and Human Services; this would indicate the majority of immigrants are living below acceptable living standards, economically speaking.

For instance lets take an average household size of 3-4 people in where the head of the household has a yearly income $24,000.00. If this person were to seek an attorney for an Adjustment of Status in where the average attorney fee is $2,500.00 (excluding USCIS fees) this person would spend 10.42% of his yearly earnings.

How is this helping the immigrant community? The attorney fee of $2,500.00 used above is also on the lower end of the spectrum, this number can reach far north from here and that’s a fact. I truly fail to see how this initiative is for the better of the people furthermore is it a fact that only Notary’s and non-attorneys commit all the fraud and harm onto immigrants? Is it safe to say that attorneys are fraud-free? Wouldn’t obliging our immigrants to unreasonable fees seem to be morally incorrect?

I think the USCIS has a lot to think about and this campaign was not well thought out furthermore extremely premature.

 
At June 30, 2011 at 11:35:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen people after obtaining Attorney at Law Degree dive into the business of Immigration without any knowledge or experience of Immigration, just because, in immigration business not all cases require court appearance and the Immigration system is very simple with a basic knowledge of filling out forms one can charge a big chunk of money without scratching head. I want all of you to go out in any community and grab any community newspaper you will find many ads of attorneys stating that they handle immigration cases my question to those attorneys is "Are you an Immigration Attorney or just "Attorney at law" because you cannot become Immigration Attorney by just becoming an "Attorney at law" if you have heart trouble you will go to a cardiologist not to an MD so my dear if you are not an Immigration Attorney your are just an MD,I mean Attorney at law and you are not a cardiologist. Now the innocent Immigrant sees your AD he cannot make a difference between MD and cardiologist he/she assumes that the lawyer can help and falls into the trap and the attorney who is no less than god to him turns out to be devil because the attorney also does not know anything about the Immigration Laws but he is at liberty to charge the immigrant by the hour or minutes, no one can stop him because he is an "attorney" now the "Consultant" who sweats his blood out to help the Immigrant because he has been through the same channel the new immigrant is going through and the consultant is trying to help him with his own experience and knowledge he gained from the USCIS site, and the abundance of information that is available on internet, the consultant is trying to help the new comer and charge a fraction of what the attorney was charging, all of a sudden all of this becomes illegal. Then what someone has to say. It is all basically for the benefit of Attorneys and not for the general immigrant. It is that you are trying to leave the immigrants with no option but to go to Attorneys even though the attorneys mess up their case there is no one to ask the attorney about that. I have seen attorney filing an application for naturalization without checking if the applicant was eligible or no and later saying that "oh! the immigration rejected your application they want you to wait for some more time till you become eligible for that." My question to that attorney is "why he did not check the eligibility factor before he was preparing the application didn't he know the requirement for applicants to be eligible for naturalization. There are a number of cases attorneys committing blunders but there is no one to check them.
I understand that there are bad elements everywhere but USCIS can regulate the consultants like IRS did.
There should be proper way of regulating the issue so that it does not hurt any person, there are consultants in every community and they are making their honest livings it will be easy on USCIS if they regulate the consultants instead stopping them or pulling their shutters down.
Please do not do that and regulate them instead. ............................

 
At July 5, 2011 at 3:49:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

CANADA HAS DONE IT!!! WE NEED TO DO IT!!!

New regulator proposed for immigration consultants
Toronto, March 18, 2011 — In order to improve the integrity of the immigration system, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today announced that a new regulatory body is being proposed to oversee immigration consultants.

“The Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council – or ICCRC – has committed to enhancing the protection of the Canadian public and those who use the services of immigration consultants,” said Minister Kenney. “I am confident that, with the ICCRC’s strong regulation of immigration consultants, people using our immigration processes will be offered quality consultation, representation and advice.”

The proposed amendments are open for public comment for a 30-day period. The current intention is that the final regulations would be published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, and would come into effect.

 
At July 6, 2011 at 6:01:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

ATTENTION : PLEASE CONTINUE TO POST SUPPORTIVE COMMENTS FOR NON-ATTORNEY ASSISTANTS TO CONTINUE TO SERVE THE COMMUNITIES IN WHICH WE LIVE .ONLY 88 COMMENTS SINCE 06/09/2011 IS NOT ENOUGH TO GET THE ATTENTION OF USCIS AND MAKE SOME SORT OF POSITIVE MOVE TO STOP THIS DAMAGING CAMPAIGN . PLEASE , EVERYONE MUST TAKE ACTION AND SHOW SUPPORT BY SUBMITTING THEIR OPINIONS ON THE MATTER . IT'S URGENT THAT WE ACT NOW , WHILE WE STILL HAVE THE TIME TO LET USCIS KNOW HOW WE FEEL . THANK YOU , TAMPA,FL

 
At July 7, 2011 at 12:28:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I visited a “non-attorney” office today in where all my family and friends have been going to immigration assistance for years. I went to inform & thank them for assisting my 85-year old grandmother become a citizen of this great country. I was speaking to the owner who I have known for over 15 years from doing business with them and he informed me that INS was initiating a combat against offices such as his. I was so disgusted and angry that I had to write and hopefully have my voice heard. As a born citizen of this country I am saddened to see this nasty approach INS is taking at people with good intensions who happen to be good at what they do without over charging immigrants. I think I can speak for many when I say nobody wants to pay attorney fees, nobody wants to deal with attorneys, nobody trusts attorneys and frankly nobody needs an attorney for the grand majority of immigrations forms. It saddens me that this office that we greatly admire is in jeopardy simply because attorneys want more money and sadly INS has been deceived to side with greed.

This office has been around for a long time, they devote many hours for free to our local community informing our residents of immigration changes and form preparation. I have seen them donate their time to our church informing us how to fill out certain forms or they fill out our forms for us at minimal fees either way something I am yet to see or hear about attorneys doing. This office has a stellar reputation for their great work, excellent ethics and morals but most importantly their honesty and devotion the immigrant community.

Offices such as the one mentioned above should be allowed to continue their great service and commitment to the immigrant community.

I still fail to see how this is helping the public and I fail to see how attorneys are the solution. In fact I think attorneys are the problem and their lack of ethics, morals honesty and mind-boggling fees are a few reasons why immigrants rather work with “non-attorney” offices.

Torrance, CA

 
At July 7, 2011 at 7:58:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well! any government department you go, you have to fill out one or the other form for something or the other, that means if someone has to go to any department for some permit or anything, he will have to take an attorney with him/her because it is illegal to fill out forms and form filling has to be done by an attorney only.
Well! in that case even going for renewal of driving license one cannot fill out the form because form filling belongs to attorneys only. You cannot apply for a credit card because you will need to fill out the form and.................................you know what???????????????? you cannot open a bank account because for that you need to fill out a form and ................... you know that ..............
What else can we expect........................

 
At July 8, 2011 at 10:54:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This initiative seems absurd and unconstitutional. Basically, this initiative is implying that only attorneys can fill out immigrations forms and this is based on the public’s lack of education? Our lack to comprehend Basic English? Our lack of intelligence? Perhaps USCIS is in the belief that attorneys are free of errors, free of fraud, morally correct, ethical, gracious and educationally superior to the rest of the common folks. Or perhaps it’s what many have indicated, money, as in a back door handshake. Whatever the reason for this combat against non-attorneys is flat out outrageous and lacks justification.

Until USCIS can prove that only non-attorneys commit fraud this combat is baseless. Until USCIS can prove that attorneys do not commit fraud this combat is unjustified. Until USCIC declares that one cannot fill out his or her own form then anyone should be able to fill out a form for anyone who chooses to pay a service fee.

This initiative is simply insulting and a violation of our rights. How can we be forced to seek only an attorney? How can we be forced to pay these ridiculous attorney fees? How can we be forced to not hire “Joe” to fill out a form for us? This is a violation of our rights and we the immigrant community should stand up and fight for our rights!

USCIS + Attorneys = $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

 
At July 8, 2011 at 12:24:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comments. I feel that Attorny's are only going to scam immigrants out of their hard earned money. I also know an Non-Attorney office that has been filling out Immigration forms for 30 years and has done an excellent job. They charge only 75.00 dollars for an I 130. Would an Attorney charge that fee? Why is USCIS doing such harm to these offices that have the knowledge and experience? I have called so called Immigration Attorney's offices to check their fees and they are charging over 7,000.00 for a simple I 130, I 485, I 765. They also charge an hourly rate of 50.00 per hour if the client needs additional information. I hope you can stop this foolish campaign and just regulate the Non-Attorney's like the IRS is doing with the Tax Preparer. USCIS I hope you do take into consideration all of these comments and change your policy. We need to get more involved with our Legislative Representives and write to them to stop this terrible attack on honest indiviudals helping immigrants.

 
At July 8, 2011 at 12:28:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still fail to see how this is helping the public and I fail to see how attorneys are the solution. In fact I think attorneys are the problem and their lack of ethics, morals honesty and mind-boggling fees are a few reasons why immigrants rather work with “non-attorney” offices. Most Attorney's are out to scam the immigrant out his money. That is why they go with these offices that charge a mimimal fee. I hope you stop this terrible campaign. It will only hurt the immigrant out of their hard earned money. Regulate the Non-Attorney's by educating them and testing their knowledge.

 
At July 11, 2011 at 10:59:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

USCIS will be hosting a "Public Engagement" on July 28, 2011.

For more information on how to participate in this “Public Engagement”, please e-mail USCIS at: public.engagement@dhs.gov and write the word "Enlace" in the subject mater line.

I encourage all non-attorneys and all of your immigrant clientele to request to be present and have your voices heard. Express your thoughts and concerns and share your suggestions and advice. It will be interesting to see how fair and unbiased this presentation will be. Will it be another of USCIS presentations in where it’s solely pro-attorneys in where only attorneys speak and where attorneys are right and everyone else is wrong? In where attorneys are the gracious saviors and the rest are the evil empire? Will it be another all out assault on anyone who is not an attorney?

If you don’t speak up, how can you be heard? You have done an amazing job here on the Beacon however we don’t know if someone from USCIS and the other agencies are reading your comments more importantly listening.

I truly hope the immigrant community voice gets heard more importantly that this campaign gets a redirection as its aim against hard working, trust worthy and knowledgeable non-attorneys is unacceptable & unfair.

Show USCIS that we the immigrant community are not as ignorant as they may think and remind them that we do have rights!

ENCOURAGE USCIS to continue to combat fraud!
ENCOURAGE USCIS to redirect their mission and focus on the fraud committed by attorneys as well.
ENCOURAGE USCIS to implement a certification program for Non-attorneys, as they are the people that truly helping the immigrant community.
ENCOURAGE USCIS to continue educating the immigrant community.
ENCOURAGE USCIS to end this questionable alliance with attorneys.
ENCOURAGE USCIS to put an end to the inexcusable defamation of character that this ill driven combat has placed on anyone who is not an attorney.
ENCOURAGE USCIS to continue to sincerely help the people, us the immigrants.

Remind USCIS that not all non-attorneys are out to commit harm & fraud. Remind USCIS that not all non-attorneys are Notary’s or a Notario Publico, that being said not all Notary’s are scammers as this smear campaign has indicated. Remind USCIS that biggest harm and fraud committed onto immigrants have come and continue to come at the hands of attorneys and that’s a fact!

Lets work together to help find a solution… attorneys are NOT the answer!

Join in on July 28, 2011!

 
At July 12, 2011 at 11:47:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

$1,200.00 for Citizenship? This is what a friend of mine just paid an attorney for his fee alone in addition to the USCIS fee of $680.00, this is simply crazy!

Fraud? Technically speaking not.
Harm? Absolutely.
Abuse? Absolutely.
Exploitation? Absolutely.

This is who USCIS wants to force the immigrant community to seek? This is what USCIS wants to force the immigrant community to pay? This is whom the USCIS is in agreement with?

I think it is time that someone from the USCIS hierarchy takes a minute to sit back and think this “mission” out. Whoever the architect of this “initiative” was should be reprehended. This “combat” was clearly not thoroughly thought out and clearly influenced by attorneys. This suspicious alliance is very transparent and USCIS should be ashamed of itself for its public stance indicating that only non-attorneys commit fraud, this is disgraceful and entirely inaccurate.

This campaign and its architects need to correct the message and clean this mess up for the only thing it has caused is a negative backlash on both USCIS and attorneys.

Greed and dishonesty never wins.

 
At July 12, 2011 at 12:11:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

“The Wrong Message Can Also Hurt”

Looks, sounds and smells like a major Public Relations nightmare, good job USCIS the people already think you are out for their money and now this deceiving campaign.

USCIS continues to raise their fees and keep immigrants at bay by limiting their immigration benefits and now USCIS wants to financially exploit them as well?

All I hear about is the “amnesty” is coming or the “Dream Act” is coming or the “245i” is returning or that one day I will eventually become a Legal Permanent Resident although I have had TPS for over 10-years. It’s all the same rhetoric over and over and the only thing that remains consistent is more money.

This campaign is simply about money; attorneys and their lobbyists have deceitfully gained USCIS support and USCIS has lost more credibility.

Attorneys want more money & so does USCIS...
Seems like a match made in heaven.

 
At July 13, 2011 at 8:12:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have paid my immigration lawyer over $15,000 over the last 10 years while rotting away in the Eb3 Row line waiting to file my I 485. Looks like both USCIS and my Lawyers are in together on this Immigration Scam.

 
At July 13, 2011 at 10:35:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have also paid an Attorney 8,000.00 dollars and I am married to a USA Citizen. The so called Immigration Attorney has not done anything. I asked her for a copy of all the forms and she could not produce them. What does that tell you. I asked her for my money. And she stated that she could not reimburse me. What am I suppose to do now? USCIS can you give me a solution to this problem. You need to make sure that if Attorney's are the only ones to be authorized to fill out these forms that they do fill out after we immigrants have paid our fees to them. I feel I have been Scamed by this so called Immigration Attorney. I hope you reconsider who you are going with which is the Devil in Sheeps clothing. I am very disappointed and I will probably fill out the forms myself after being scammed by a Immigration Attorney.

 
At July 13, 2011 at 12:30:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine who works for a Non-Attorney's office(out of state) asked me to share our story, which just occurred this past Monday July 11, 2011.

We went to an “Immigration” Attorney in the Los Angeles area for the “renewal” of my wife’s Permanent Resident Card. We called this “Immigration” Attorney because some friends of ours had worked with him previously therefore we went based on this personal referral. After spending a few hours with this Attorney, paying his fee, submitting the required evidence… all appeared to be going as expected. Until the appointment for my wife’s biometrics at a local Application Support Center in where as soon as we walked in the guard said “there might be a problem, please wait while I get you to see the USCIS officer.” Once in the room with USCIS officer we were told that our “Immigration” Attorney had filled out the wrong form, as my wife’s Permanent Resident Card was a 2-year card therefore we should have filed the Removal of Conditions I-751 and not the I-90. We were livid!

After paying this Attorney $1000.00 in his fees and $450.00 in USCIS fees we were now facing major problems since my wife’s card was a few days from expiring. As soon as we left the Application Support Center we went straight down to see our Attorney. To make a long story short he apologized for the mistake and said everything could resolved, all we had to do was pay him another $1000.00 which to him was a major discount for a Removal of Conditions and $590.00 in USCIS fees. Being that we didn’t have many options or much time since our days were numbered we did as he had told us and now we await the response from USCIS.

This has been a $3,040.00 nightmare one caused by an “Immigration” Attorney and once in which we still do not know the outcome of our case.

I am not saying Non-Attorneys are better however this proves that Attorneys are NOT the answer. I have never worked with a Non-Attorney therefore I cannot give a fair opinion however I know many people who have and they are all very pleased with the results. I am disappointed that I didn’t go to a Non-Attorney simply because I thought going to an Attorney who specialized in Immigration would be the best option for my wife’s case, boy was I wrong. What I can tell you is I am currently working with this “Immigration” Attorney and it has been a complete disappointment and an upsetting experience. An experience in which I feel has been nothing but a waste of valuable time and a great amount of money. Were we ripped-off? Ill let you be the judge of this…

I would highly recommend for USCIS to reconsider their tone regarding this “initiative.” It seems misdirected and extremely biased.

Pacific Palisades, CA

 
At July 14, 2011 at 12:18:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that USCIS are taking into account all of these comments. Attorney's are the ones scaming the poor immigrant out of a great amount of money. In the case in which the Attorney made a mistake on his Wife's case. The Attorney should have completed the form without no additional fees. Since he was the one to commit the error in the first place. He should have filed the I 751 for free since he was the one that made such a big mistake. How could he have the gall to charge again? I really hope that USCIS will rethink and reevlauate what they are doing. Giving all these cases to Attorney's is a sure sign of Monopolizing the business of filling out simple Demographic forms, which are most INS forms. Anyone with a High School Diploma can read the instructions to these forms on the Website and complete the forms themselves. Stop giving your hard earned money to Attorney's they are scam artists with a license to steal.

 
At July 14, 2011 at 2:48:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

First and foremost I am a non-attorney and I was just made aware of this blog and I would personally like to thank all you of you for the supportive commentary. This campaign although not directed at my office, still affects me and the business I run. I will try to remain positive and focus on a solution instead of reacting to the attorneys and those in charge who have caused this mess. Unfortunately USCIS has taken the wrong stance and sadly their stance has already created a negative public reaction rather than the positive one they were originally seeking.

For as long as I have been in business I have always worked hand in hand with attorneys as I refer them cases that my office does not handle nor has no interest in handling in particular those requiring legal representation or special filings. These same attorneys also refer me work in particular the smaller cases they simply don’t have a need for or a case to silly for them to charge the applicants. Nevertheless it has always been a wonderful working relationship and for this reason I refuse to criticize and generalize all attorneys. This campaign is unfair and I refuse to be unfair.

At this time it would be wise for USCIS as many here have requested to redirect their mission, change their tone and place their energy in truly combating immigration fraud for the entire industry both attorneys and non-attorneys. Going after only non-attorneys is not only alarming and immoral but flat-out wrong. The message that USCIS is currently sending is incorrect, biased and completely untrue. I would never have thought USCIS would take such a stereotyping position being a government body, I am baffled by their position and I am not surprised by the negative effect this campaign has created. What this campaign is implicating is anyone who is not an attorney cannot and should not be filling out easy-straightforward-simple immigration forms. If this were the case an argument can be made that the applicant himself would not be capable of doing so either, something I encourage my applicants to do and something I know USCIS encourages as well. I think with all the emotions displayed in these commentary’s especially those from immigrants which we are seeking to help, it is the responsibility of the USCIS to look further into this campaign and refocus its energy to helping the immigrant community and make sure there is no fraud committed to them nor exploit them to outrageous and unreasonable attorney fees. This would be the right, gracious and morally correct thing to do not the biased and ill driven smear campaign that is currently being used.

The message USCIS should be sending to the public is “Beware of Fraud committed by both attorneys and non-attorneys, protect yourself, ask all the questions you want and remember it is your money and your future.”

We can all be part of the solution, lets focus on doing the right thing for our immigrants, lets correct this mislead campaign.

 
At July 15, 2011 at 12:03:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

PLEASE EVERY MAKE SURE YOU REGISTER FOR THE JULY 28th PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT AT USCIS.GOV WE NEED YOUR VOICE AND SUPPORT .LET'S TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS CONFERENCE VIA TELEPHONE OR INTERNET. LET'S MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND WATCH IF WE REALLY HAVE RIGHTS IN THIS MUDSLINGING CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED BY USCIS AND ATTORNEY CONSPIRACY AGAINST NON-ATTORNEY OFFICES.WE ARE A NECESSARY PART OF OUR COMMUNITIES WE CANNOT LET THIS HARMFUL "INITIATIVE" AND USCIS BULLY US ALL. WE HAVE RIGHTS , LET'S PUT THEM TO GOOD USE .

 
At July 15, 2011 at 10:16:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My family and I are from Mexico; we have been in the United States for the past 15 years, since I was 2. Unlike most we entered this country legally in the pursuit for a better living and the opportunity to live out the “American Dream.” Unfortunately this move hasn’t been so kind on us, both my parents have worked extremely hard to put food on the table, sometimes it meant both of them working 60+hours a week at minimal wages with no benefits just for us to live a decent standard of living, one with no luxuries but one with food, good health and laughter. My parents are currently waiting their priority date based on a petition from my uncle. The wait has been long but the journey has been delightful because through it all, we have met a wonderful family who happens to run a non-attorney office. This family and their office have been in business and at the same location since we entered the United States 15 years ago. They have been a staple in the community, they have been stable, honest, hardworking and they offer exceptional service at what I feel are fair to minimal fees. Unfortunately my family does not make much money and we could not afford an attorney however we are completely satisfied with the work this office has provided us with. We have seen many in our community give their hard earned money at times borrowed money to attorneys for the same case and same results. There has been no difference with the exception they were charged 4x the amount we paid for the same work and they continue to pay anytime the want to see or speak to their attorney something we get for free. We call and visit the office we work with at least once a month, all we get is a friendly hello and the answer we were seeking. Many in our community have been ripped off by attorneys, defrauded by attorneys and threatened by attorneys to be reported to USCIS something the office we are working with has never done. In closing, the majority of us immigrants don’t have much money and what we do have our families need for survival, we cannot afford attorneys nor do we trust attorneys, please don’t force us to see attorneys who simply want our money. Help us USCIS, this campaign is harming us and not protecting us, the message you are sending is more damaging than it is good. We don’t have much, please don’t take away what we have and please don’t take away these good offices that have been helping us for so long. They are here for us the immigrants and not here for the money, their service and fees justify this statement.

Help us the immigrants and not the pockets and bank accounts of attorneys.

 
At July 15, 2011 at 1:42:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very concerned with the stance that USCIS is taking against offices that offer honest and inexpense form filling services. Attorney's won't even talk to the immigrant without asking them for money in advance. For example, I heard of a case that two Attorney's are charging 100.00 every half hour they talk to a Immigration client plus their exhorbiant fee of 3700.00 for a so called package deal. They want the money up front before they start any form. I am very concerned for out Immigrants out there that are falling for this trap. It is clear to me that USCIS is with the SCAM ARTISTS WHICH ARE THE ATTORNEY'S NOT THE NON-ATTORNEY OFFICE THAT IS HELPING IMMIGRANTS WITH A MINIMAL FEE AND ACTUALLY GETTING THEM IMMIGRATED! I WILL ALSO PRINT ALL OF THESE COMMENTS AND SEND THEM TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES SO THAT HE CAN REEVALUATE WHAT USCIS IS TRYING TO DO.

 
At July 16, 2011 at 11:35:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This program is long overdue. I thank USCIS for launching this effort to stop the unauthorized practice of Immigration Law. I am sure there are some good people who do not cheat or defraud vulnerable immigrants. They are welcome to register with USCIS to do immigration work. But it is obvious that there are people who are engaged in defrauding new immigrants by lying, cheating and violating laws. USCIS deserves thanks from all concerned.

 
At July 18, 2011 at 1:25:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading the mission of this campaign and the feedback created by this blog I was shocked, upset and saddened to see the position USCIS has taken. I am a Social Worker working in the county of Los Angeles, I personally work with families from the lower social and economic levels and many of their family members will be affected buy this initiative if it is carried out. The elimination of Community Based Organizations and Non-Attorney offices whom assist the financially underprivileged the will have a tremendous negative impact on our immigrants which may be irreparable.

When dealing with a mass amount of people sometimes we tend to forget the underprivileged or lack to comprehended their standard of living. It is disturbing to read and listen to this campaign in where the immigrants are those being affected the most. The majority of our immigrants are from the lowest socio-economic sector of our community who face not only a declining economy with scarce employment opportunities but they also face significant USCIS fees and yet we want to force them to seek Attorneys and their outlandish fees. This campaign is simply not acceptable and must be repaired before the immigrant community is affected greater.

Dealing with these families for over 25 years I have seen and heard of many who have been victimized by Attorneys. Throughout the years I have also heard and witnessed Non-Attorney offices and Community Based Organizations who truly have been serving the community at minimal fees. Throughout the years I have been asked by families to assist them with certain forms and due to my employment I cannot however I have read over countless of forms and truthfully there is no need for an Attorney much less be forced to seek one.

USCIS should place their full efforts and sincere concerns with the immigrant community wholeheartedly. Our immigrants should not be exposed or obligated to only seek an Attorney much less pay their unreasonable fees. Over the years I have seen and heard of the existing fraud in the immigration industry and I understand and agree action is necessary however the focus and aim of this campaign is misdirected and incorrect. Attorneys for years have been defrauding, threatening, overcharging and taking advantage of our immigrants and if this campaign is approved it will only greaten the harm done onto our immigrants. Unless we can assure and guarantee the public there will be no fraud committed by Attorneys then this campaign holds no merit. Unless we can regulate Attorney fees and demand them to charge what Non-Attorneys charge then this campaign is damaging and dangerous.

The immigrant community do no trust and sadly cannot afford to strictly hire an Attorney and at times fear Attorneys therefore an affordable trustworthy alternative must be accessible for them. A hard ban, unreasonable regulations or abolishing all Non-Attorney offices will only affect the immigrant community greater. Doing away with these offices is not the answer and far from the solution.

A Social Worker

 
At July 18, 2011 at 7:58:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the above person who posted the comment starting with "This program is long overdue...." . He/she thanks USCIS for their efforts in UPL/Immigration law. I can tell it's written by a greedy immigration attorney . This person is totally missing the point of 99% of opinions posted here about this INITIATIVE by USCIS . Where does it state on USCIS forms that it can only be filled by an attorney? the language on USCIS forms is very simple , no legal terms . The instructions are clearly directed at the general public . Had this been such an illegal issue USCIS would have been returning all applications filled by non attorneys, including self filers ,along with all fees with a simple explanation such as "this application is being returned/denied , must be filled by immigration attorney, your are breaking the law otherwise ." So, the immigration attorney offices have also been breaking the law , they personally DO NOT fill out the applications they submit to USCIS, their secretaries or office clerks do at minimum wage per hour! All the attorney does , illegally ,is sign stating the application WAS filled by him. That makes it a lie .!! I think the legal term is "PERJURY"! So let's make the attorneys type all the forms personally and then they can justify those incredibly abusive fees they charge.USCIS deserves thanks AFTER this entire sham brought forth by them and attorneys is reviewed and AFTER the public's opinion posted here is taken under much consideration.So,we the people have rights,especially the right to chose who fills out our USCIS applications .I am hopeful the right and fair thing will be done to benefit the honest and capable non attorney offices providing an indispensable service to our communities .Let's all participate on July 28th,show your concerns with a strong voice .It's the only way to be heard loud and clear. Sorry greedy attorneys , I think you will need Perry Mason to win this one.

 
At July 19, 2011 at 11:41:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets see…

-Family Name
-Given Name
-Full Middle Name
-Mailing Address
-Gender
-Date of Birth
-Martial Status
-Country of Birth
-City/Town/Village of Birth
-Social Security Number
-A-Number
-Class of Admission
-Date of Admission
-My Status is
-Reason for Application
-Mothers Name
-Fathers Name
-Last 5 years of residence
-Last 5 years of employment…

Do you get the picture? These are the majority of the questions on most USCIS forms and we need an Attorney for what? Most USCIS applications are Biographic & Demographic forms, simple and to the point and we need an Attorney for what?

USCIS, if you encourage us to fill out our own forms would this not state that anyone can fill out a form for us?
USCIS, your job is to help us not harm us.
USCIS, your job is preventing us from being exploited, not help exploit us.
USCIS, your job is to protect us from fraud not just fraud from a selected group.
USCIS, wake up! Attorneys are not here to help us, they are out for our money and you are assisting them in doing so.
USCIS, we seek justified and honest answers on why you are forcing us to seek Attorneys? Do Attorneys not commit fraud? Are Attorney fees fair & justified? Will Attorneys be regulated on what they can charge us? Will they charge minimal fees such as Non-Attorney offices? Will Attorneys be accessible at anytime such as Non-Attorneys? Will we have to pay simply to see and talk to an Attorney?

I agree with many comments on this blog, this campaign was not thoroughly thought out, lacks depth, honesty and justice.

 
At July 19, 2011 at 12:36:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear USCIS,

The ideal solution would be to certify Non-Attorney offices and regulate Attorney practice and fees something the State Bar has failed to do. By doing this you accomplish the following;

In the case for Non-Attorneys you are certifying them by doing this you can monitor, regulate and discipline them if need be. By certifying them the public will still have access to affordable and trustworthy immigration providers. By certifying them you are keeping hardworking honest people in business allowing them to continue their exceptional service to the immigrant community. By certifying them you are protecting immigrants from exploitation at the hands of Attorneys by their unreasonable, unjustified, irrational, excessive and outrageous fees. Lastly by doing this you are acknowledging that immigrants have right too, the right to chose a provider, the right to seek whomever they chose to fill out and prepare their immigration forms and the right to pay whomever they chose for their services. Immigrants have rights; lets not deprive them of their liberties.

In the case for Attorneys, by regulating them you can help control their unreasonable, unjustified, irrational, excessive and outrageous fees. By regulating them you can see to it that the Attorney is actually filling out the immigrant forms and not their legal assistant, secretary or a Paralegal. By regulating them you can also see to it that the Attorney is more accessible to the immigrant furthermore that the immigrants is not always talking to their legal assistant, secretary or a Paralegal while still paying as if they were dealing with the actual Attorney. By regulating them you can see to it that our immigrants aren’t exploited by the hour or for every request USCIS may have regarding their case. If you regulate them and are able to accomplish the above Attorneys might have more immigrants choosing to do business with them instead of immigrants being forced to do business with them as this campaign is intending to do. While you are regulating them perhaps you can also start another campaign restoring the publics trust in Attorneys… good luck.

USCIS, I just solved your problem and no I am not an Attorney, I do not have any personal or financial benefit from the industry and I am not a rocket scientist…

I’m just an Immigrant.

 
At July 19, 2011 at 12:47:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you the above statements stating that the Attorney's do not fill or complete the forms their secretaries do. They charge 5000.00 dollars per case and all they do is sign the form stating that they completed the form themselves. That is "Perjury" who is truley committing fraud? It is the Immigration Attorney. What can the poor immigrant do when the Attorney decides to skip town with his hard earned money? USCIS please answer this question. Please stop this foolish campaign against the non-attorney offices. They are truly helping their communities. I do agree that their is fraud being committed but most of the time it is committed by the so called Immigration Attorney's.

 
At July 19, 2011 at 2:10:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah it's all the lawyers' fault for the way imigrants are mistreated. Except for the fact that if it wasn't for us lawyers, have the folks who tried to come here legally would be shut out at the border.

 
At July 19, 2011 at 2:19:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sick and tired of everyone jumping all over attorneys all the time. GOD FORBID I bust my butt to get an education and a law degree and try to make a living. And it's always some so-called "attorney" who comes on here and says it's about the money.

I've seen the immigration lawyers who work cases in my building. I work in a differnet agency than USCIS. Those layers are often times, lawyers from the countries of the people they are representing. They came here, busted their butts , and now they are doing good work repping legal immigrants from their homelands to help them out.

Would you say they are money hungry and fraudulent? I say that I'm proud to be a law school graduate when I see people who don't forget wwhere they came from practicing law.

 
At July 20, 2011 at 1:36:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the above comment posted by a "lawyer" saying "if it wasn't for us lawyers" etc., being sarcastic and claiming to be a lawyer with typos is another good reason why he should have had his secretary write his comment, just like he makes her fill out the very forms USCIS and attorneys say is illegal to fill without being a lawyer. All he does is sign the forms saying he filled them out , charging clients between $150.-$300.per hour.Also to the "law school graduate" above I would be ashamed to make that statement with your awful grammer, I would not use your services to fight a traffic ticket. Get a refund on your diploma.

 
At July 22, 2011 at 4:36:00 PM EDT , Anonymous USCIS Blog Team said...

Thank you for taking time to add your thoughts about the UPIL initiative. We recognize that our success and ability to meet the needs of diverse and widespread communities depends upon the support and involvement of a variety of partners, including existing recognized organizations, attorneys, and individuals and organizations, interested in becoming recognized or accredited.

To learn more about the recognition and accreditation process, find a recognized organization or accredited representative, or find free or low cost legal services, please visit www.uscis.gov/avoidscams

 
At July 22, 2011 at 6:34:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

TO USCIS Blog Team , are these 9 simple lines your response to our overwhelming posts and concerns and in the end just referring us to a website ? Did someone actually take the time and bother to read our outcry and opinions on your so called "Initiative" ?. If you had , there would be more to say than this simple statement. What a waste of everyone's time. Mr. Mayorkas needs to get more invloved with our community , he can start by personally reading our opinions on this site .

 
At July 25, 2011 at 5:06:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks USCIS Blog Team...I have been trying to be "Recognized" or "Acredited" since the year 2007, without success. This is not so simple for us how you said. Before you need to become a non-profit organization. And to file with the IRS a lawyer charge $2,500.00 then you need to find a "Recognized" organization who likes you!!!!
Everything is a mistery and a back and forward like only a small group of people can reach this privilege. If you really care about the poor community give as the oportunity to get"Recognized" and continue given service to them. There's work for everybody who wants to make a honest living.

 
At July 26, 2011 at 12:13:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear USCIS,

Based on your non-chalant response regarding the “recognition and accreditation program” it is apparent you have no knowledge or understanding of this process.

The accreditation program you are referring to is a sham, a secret society of a few handpicked and selected by the BIA without any conscious of reality. The BIA’s accreditation program is a fairy tale; your chances of winning the lottery are greater than your chances of being cherry picked by this fraternity.

The BIA offers a program aimed at allowing certified members to represent clients in court without the presence of a lawyer. Not only is this certification widely known to be impossible to attain due to unachievable and unrealistic guidelines but also it focuses on an area of our industry that I believe should be handled by Attorneys only. We refer countless of cases to Attorneys that we have built a professional working relationship with over the years. The primary reason for referring these cases to Attorneys is that as a matter of our policy we do not handle any cases in which the applicant(s) has encountered any problems with the law or with USCIS. We also refer any special filings or cases in which legal representation is required.

The certification that you should create and endorse is one that strictly allows Non-attorneys to simply fill out and assist in the preparation of immigration forms, nothing more nothing less. Unfortunately the BIA’s accreditation is simply too wide-ranging therefore it does not meet the needs of our industry furthermore their qualification are completely unattainable. The key to creating a successful certification program is that the requirements are stringent in their attempts to curtail fraud but that they are also realistic and achievable. The certification and the standards of practice behind it need to focus on the business that my and many other credible Non-attorney organizations specialize in and not on areas of our industry that we want no involvement in. We understand and respect the boundaries of the services we specialize in and provide and we choose to remain within these boundaries. What our industry needs is a certification program that focuses solely on the filling out of forms and preparation of documents.

It is that easy USCIS, this is something that can be easily accomplished if place your focus and energy in the right direction and do not allow yourself to be misled and misinformed by Attorneys which have an agenda of their own. This certification can effortlessly be accomplished if your desire is to truly help the immigrants and combat fraud committed by both Attorneys and Non-Attorneys.

A Non-Attorney

 
At July 27, 2011 at 10:53:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To The above posting dated July 26, 2011 “Dear USCIS”…

Bravo-Bravo-Bravo! This is exactly what we have been trying to express to USCIS for so long, the BIA guidelines are unreachable and quite frankly ridiculous. For beginners you are almost forced to become a Non-Profit, something, in which I do not believe in. The grand majority of Non-Profits charge more than my office and more than most Community Based Organizations. Lets face it; if there were no-profit it would not be in operations as profit is the primary principal to the existence of any business. Furthermore the BIA’s guidelines are so far off reality that there is no point for one to pursuit becoming accredited other than being recognized by the USCIS. It is also known that the Board of Immigration Appeals is also in association with Attorneys, things that make you wonder the legitimacy and fairness of this department and the process.

For over 6-years my office has attempted to become recognized by the BIA with no success for no apparent reason. It has been a long frustrating process filled with additional requirements and requests that the majority of those applying for this accreditation will not be able to produce therefore resulting in a denial. Those in the industry know very well the BIA’s guidelines are unfair, beyond reach and unrealistic furthermore as the gentlemen said above “too wide ranging.” It covers areas in which we want no involvement in, we do not want to represent clients in court, we do not offer legal advice, we do not claim to be Attorneys… we simply prepare documents and fill-out forms, something in which there is no need for an Attorney. Regulatory requirements need to be reasonable, well aimed to deal with the fraud committed by both Non-Attorneys and Attorneys and achievable to obtain for all professionals working in this industry, whether they are an Attorneys or not.

This “initiative” and the characterizations of this campaign regarding Non-Attorneys seem to have put all Non-Attorneys and Attorneys on opposite sides of this debate; we believe a collective solution is essential and obtainable. I think I speak for the industry in general, we are all aware and concerned about the fraud committed onto immigrants and we too want to be part of the solution to end all harm onto our community. There is no perfect society, just as there are some bad apples, there will be some bad Non-Attorneys and there will be some bad Attorneys, this does not mean all should be punished for a few.

Nevertheless who ever wrote the posting I am referring to is on point and should be consulted by both USCIS and BIA in order to create a friendlier, more approvable, realistic and obtainable certification. Lets work together and come to a sensible, fair, reasonable and honest solution. The people count us and need us.

 
At July 27, 2011 at 11:18:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

1) My child filed a petition for me and I became a Legal Permanent Resident.
2) As a Resident I filed an N-400 and became a US Citizen.
3) As a Citizen I filed a Petition and Adjustment of Status for my wife who became a Legal Permanent Resident.
4) As a Citizen I filed a Petition and Adjustment of Status for my two stepchildren who became a Legal Permanent Residents.
5) Later I filed an N-400 for my wife and stepchildren and now they are all proud US Citizens.

All of this was accomplished by myself with the guidance of a local Non-Attorney and quite honestly there was absolutely no need for an Attorney throughout these processes. I never encountered any problems or difficulties and I was never exploited by Attorney fees, all I ever paid for were the USCIS fees pertaining to each individual form. The Non-Attorney that guided me never charged me a dime and to this day continues to offer exceptional and affordable service to our community.

I am not in favor of ANYONE however I will say there is a huge need for offices such as the one who guided me through these processes and charged me nothing. This office does charge but after consulting with a few Attorneys, the charge appears nonexistent compared to what Attorneys wanted to charge me.

The termination of credible, hardworking and honest Non-Attorneys would affect the community greatly, resulting in minimal or no affordable immigration assistance for our immigrants.

Hawthorne, CA

 
At July 27, 2011 at 12:06:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

USCIS are you truly taking our comments seriously? Did you all get the picture? Attorney's are out to get easy money. They will charge exhorbiant fees and will not talk to you after you pay them your hard earned money I was a victim of a so called Immigration Attorney in Texas. I am still looking for him since he disappeared with my money. He moved and we have not heard or seen him since. What do you do about this type of Fraud. I hear advertisements of Money Hungry Attorneys on TV saying do not go with a Non-
Attorney firm because they will hurt your chances of getting immigrated. Yes, come with us so that we can swindle you out of big bucks. Director of Immigration I hope you are reading this blog so that you can make the correct decision in combating fraud. Is it legal for an Attorney advertise his services? Their are several Attorney's that advertise their Immigration Services and when the immigrant goes to their office they tell them it is 100.00 dollars an hour for consultation. First, they say free consultation then when your at their office they change their fees. I also have been trying to talk to a particular Lawyer but I only get to talk to his secretary. Where are these Lawyers when you make an appointment with them? Why do we have to pay to talk to his secretary. The forms are easy to complete yourself if you are literate in English. They are Demographic forms that do not have any legal vocabulary. Why should only Lawyers complete these forms? I hope you do read the Blogs so that you make the correct decisions. You should create a Certification Program for Non Attorney's they truly help our immigrants for a very low minimal fees. Some of them do not charge at all for consulation or their form filling services. I hope you take into consideration a certification program for these good folks. It does not take a Rocket Scientist to complete a Immigration Form.

 
At July 28, 2011 at 12:15:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

THANK YOU TO THE LAST 5 COMMENTS ABOVE . YOUR DETAILED EXPLANATION OF THE NEED AND GREAT DEFENSE OF NON-ATTORNEY OFFICES IN OUR COMMUNITIES IS WELL WRITTEN !! I WISH MORE PEOPLE GET INVOLVED BEFORE THIS REDICULOUS "INITIATIVE" GETS SERIOUS. THE WEALTHY ATTORNEYS HAVE THE FINANCIAL POWER TO PUT US NON-ATTORNEYS OUT OF BUSINESS . I'VE BEEN DOING THIS WONDERFUL WORK FOR ALMOST 30 YRS. I CAN ASSURE EVERYONE MY EXPERIENCE IS BASED ON HANDS ON WORK AND THE FACT THAT SINCE I ENJOY MY WORK AND THE REWARDS ARE SEEING THESE PEOPLE I HELP THRIVE AND SEE HOW QUICKLY THE RESULTS ARE AND HOW THEIR SOCIAL ECONOMIC LIVES CHANGE ONCE THEY ACQUIRE LEGAL STATUS OR A PETITIONED RELATIVE ENTERING THE U.S. TO BE REUNITED WITH FAMILY , MY LIFE HAS BEEN ENRICHED (not monetarily)BY THESE PEOPLE THAT AFTER GOING THROUGH SUCH ORDEALS TO REACH THE AMERICAN DREAM BECOME LIKE MY FAMILY . ONCE A CLIENT ,ALWAYS A CLIENT .THEY ARE LOYAL ! WE MUST GET OUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES INVOLVED . I AM HAVING CLIENTS , LOCAL MERCHANTS AND ANYONE THAT AGREES SIGN A PETITION. I PLAN TO PRESENT IT TO VARIOUS DISTRICT CONGRESSIONAL OFFICES AS WELL AS SUBMIT THIS BIA ACCREDITATION APPLICATION . I TOO AGREE THAT I AM NOT , NEVER HAVE BEEN , INTERESTED IN GETTING INVOLVED OUT OF MY EXPERTISE OF JUST FILLING OUT FORMS , I DO NOT WANT TO REPRESENT ANY CLIENTS IN ANY PROCESS OUTSIDE OF MY OFFICE. I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY . I AM LIMITED TO PROPERLY FILLING OUT FORMS . USCIS MUST CREATE A SIMPLE ACCREDITATION FOR THOSE OF US WHO JUST WANT TO CONTINUE TO DO JUST THAT. THEY ARE MISSING THIS GAP . AND USCIS KEEP THE ATTORNEYS OUT OF THIS , THIS MATTER NEEDS TO BE SOLVED BETWEEN YOU AND US THE NON-ATTORNEY PERSONNEL . I TAKE INSULT TO THE WORDING ON THIS "INITIATIVE" STREET LANGUAGE , I GUESS USCIS THOUGHT THEY NEEDED TO SIMPLIFY OR DUMB DOWN THE WORDS SO THAT THE COMMUNITY THEY CLAIM THEY ARE PROTECTING CAN UNDERSTAND THE SIMPLE LANGUAGE.ANOTHER INSULT . I THINK THIS CAN GET UGLY . CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT FOR DEFAMMATION AND MUD SLINGING AT HONEST ,PRIVATE OFFICES SOUNDS LIKE A POSSIBILITY IF USCIS IGNORES OUR COMMENTS AND CONCERNS. MAYORKAS GET READY , WE ARE NOT GIVING UP.LETS ALL PARTICIPATE ON THE LIVE WEB/TELEPHONE DISCUSSION THURS.UNITED WE CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS.

 
At July 28, 2011 at 11:39:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good morning, I would like to begin by stating that I am a City Manager in the Los Angeles vicinity. For many years my city has worked closely with a certain Non-Attorney Community Based Organization. This office has been extremely resourceful for our residents for the past 15-years. This office has conducted countless of workshops assisting our resident in applying for US Citizenship, Permanent Resident Card Renewals and more importantly providing tools and education to our community in order for them to achieve their immigration needs. Being heavily involved with my city for over 30-years and working with this office for the past 15-years, I can only say that an office such as the one in reference to is a necessity for our residents and a privilege to have someone truly dedicated in sincerely assisting the community.

Within my city we have countless of great and credible Attorneys however they simply refuse to donate their time and work for free or charge minimal fees like this office continues to do. Furthermore the residents of my city can visit or call this office any time with any questions, comments or concerns and they will not be charged for their time. For the past 15-years I have never heard one single complaint about this office, no one has ever complaint about their pricing and no one has ever been harmed or defrauded by this office. This office offers nothing except for great customer service, total honesty, accessibility and affordability. This office continues to meet and surpass our city expectations and we can only hope they remain a staple in our community. This office has outlasted many business in the area based on their honesty, hard work, exceptional customer service and first class immigration assistance. Furthermore this office abides by all the rules and regulations set forth by the State of California and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Furthermore this office works closely with several Attorneys from our city referring them cases they do not handle or in situations where court representation is necessary.

I truly hope this “initiative” is aimed at combating immigration fraud and not putting good honest people out of business. Offices such as this one are an essential tool for the immigrant community and must be protected in order for them to continue to righteously serve the community.

A City Manager

 
At July 28, 2011 at 12:02:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

In this bad economy when its so difficult to find a job. where will these non attornys go if they have to close their businesses.Some of them are in this business since from many years and this has become their specialty they don't really have any experience to do anything else. How they will afford to pay their mortgages, will they be able to send their children to the college? Its just some more houses will be added to the forclosure and bigger line at the unemployment office. Will there be any releif fund for them from the goverment?

 
At July 28, 2011 at 12:12:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Immigration,

We are a family here from El Salvador and fortunately we have been granted TPS allowing us to work and live in this great country. As you know the economy is not the greatest, my parents both work extremely hard, my father as a painter and my mother as a machine operator and both my brother and I are High School Students.

We live a humble lifestyle, we have a two bedroom apartment; my parents in their bedroom, being the girl I have my own bedroom and my brother sleeps on the couch in the living room. My parents share one car in which they use to drop us off at school and for both to get to work. We feel blessed to have good health, food on the table, a roof over our head and status to live and work here freely however we do not have the financial means to deal with Attorneys.

Thankfully an Attorney was able to get us our TPS status however it was an extremely expensive process one in which my parents are still making monthly payments to. With that said every time a renewal of our status is necessary we no longer use this Attorney due to his unfeasible fee of $1,000.00 per person. He is a great Attorney who has done us well but his fees are simply beyond our reach.

Therefore we now use a non-attorney for the renewal of our TPS, we have been using this office for the past 3 renewals and they have been great most importantly they only charge us $100.00 per person. With the Attorney we would have paid $4,000.00 in total where as with this office we only pay $400.00 total.

How do you justify this? Isn’t this abuse? Wouldn’t you say this is as bad as fraud?

We need more offices such as these and we are thankful we found this office. They are reliable, easily reached, honest and affordable. Fundamentals that most Attorneys lack.

When you can provide the nation with Attorneys that will charge us minimal fees such as this office then only can you justify this movement.

When you can provide the nation with Attorneys that are personally accessible to us without charging us for every visit, every phone call or every INS request then only can you justify this movement.

When you can assure the nation that Attorneys do not commit fraud onto immigrants then only can you justify this movement.

When you can be honest with yourself then only will you realize this movement is not justified!

A 17-year old Salvadorian National

 
At July 28, 2011 at 12:20:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the non attorny's have very good reputation in their community and it takes a lot to earn a good reputation. Just because some of them have messed up with what they do its not fair to punish all of them. There are good and bad people in every business. Pick the bad one's but dont punish those who are good and they are assets to their community because people need their assistance. These days people are struggling to put food on the table for their families and if they need any help for immgration they shouldn't be forced to make a choice between food or attorny's fees.

 
At July 28, 2011 at 12:23:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Hire an attorney, they want your money & we approve”- USCIS

Endorsed by DHS

 
At July 28, 2011 at 2:02:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear USCIS Blog Team and Director,

The Immigration Attorney's are the ones committing fraud. They take the poor immigrants money and then they Lie, Lie, and Lie to them. They tell them their case is pending and that they need to wait. They also do not complete the forms and they do not provide copies of what they complete. I have heard stories of how they take them for their money. One particular case they took 11,000.00 dollars for a simple I 130 and I 485. The immigrants has been waiting 5 years and his wife is a USA Citizen. What can they do about this type of fraud committed by Immigration Attorney's? Please do reevaluate your stance on this foolish initiative you are taking against honest Non-Attorney's firms in the United States. They are providing honest service to our immigrant community. I hope you are reading this blogs. I know their is fraud being committed by some non attorney firms but most of the fraud is committed by the so called Immigration Attorney charging exhorbiant fees.

 
At July 28, 2011 at 11:34:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please just regulate the non attorneys like IRS did and be blessed.

 
At July 29, 2011 at 12:20:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets call a spade a spade… there is no difference in what the IRS accomplished to what the USCIS should do, a certification program which recognizes credible, worthy, honest and affordable service providers with periodic training and regulations. If you want to get into the language used on the forms or the regulations and any discussion thereafter with an applicant being seen as “practicing or interpreting law” well the same argument can be made regarding taxes and its laws.

Giving legal advice is one thing but informing the public of the laws, regulations and guidelines is not practicing law.

For instance an applicant comes to me and asks, “can I apply for Citizenship?” and after I ask him a few basic questions my reply is either “yes you can or no you cannot.” This is not giving legal advice nor is it practicing law. This is simply informing the applicant of the regulations and guidelines set forth by the USCIS.

All this gibberish of Non-Attorneys “giving legal advice and practicing law” is just another ill attempt by Attorneys in order to deceive USCIS and the media in agreeing with them. The problem here is the Attorneys and those within USCIS who are in agreement with them. Their intensions are dishonest, deceitful, harmful, unethical and immoral and this is all illustrated and supported by this campaign.

It is time for the USCIS to change their tone and direction and stop dancing with the devil, Attorneys.

 
At August 16, 2011 at 5:50:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been helping my clients for over fifteen yers, and they keep coming back to me. Why do they come back? They want results; they want to have control of their cases; they want to have copies of all forms sent the the USCIS or th NVC; they like it that they can find me any day andy time; they like it that I charge them only for the actual work done and not for any conversation or questions answered; they like it that I speak their language; they like it that I came from the same place they come from; most of all, they like the fees I charge.

If I had to tell them that I could no longer sign the forms I fill out for them cecause the USCIS is not allowing me to fill them out, they would be ok with that. They would still have me do the work and not sign the fomrs. We would just make it look like they filled them out themselves. Why would they be ok with that? Because I have earned their trust, and because they cannot pay the attorney's fees.

 
At November 25, 2011 at 8:42:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the problem with our society. Everyone wants something for free. This topic reminds me of the commercial where the long time barber looks across the street and sees a high volume chop shop advertise $5.00 hair cuts. The next scene is a sign in his window stating "We fix $5 haircuts."

As an actual practicing immigration attorney, it is one thing to do a simple citizenship application, but a completely different situation to attempt to give advice on an overstay issue, criminal or fraud waiver or removal matter ... and yes ... filling out paperwork for someone has an element of giving advice. If you want to be an attorney then go to school and become an attorney.

I'm not against someone filling out their own paperwork if appropriate. No more so that I would have a problem with someone changing their own oil or doing basic first aid. But there's a difference between pulling out a splinter and doing your own heart surgery. I suppose you have a problem with heart surgeons charging of open heart surgeries as well?!?!? Perhaps you can just do the surgery in your garage with a set of ginsu knives.

 
At December 5, 2011 at 3:19:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geeee..., what are the big deal with lawyers and attorneys about giving "ADVISE", if we can find all kind of information in the computer very clear. If you go to High School, you have enough skills to understand this information, if not what is wrong with asking somebody we can thruth for help. This is a free country, I do my legal documents by myself o with the help of anyone I want. I dont need to pay thousands of dollars for a stupid "Advise". Stop crying, You! Lawyers and Attorneys have been the cause of this immigration mess, exploiting immigrants, and making the poor poorer. Some people must go to jail because they still few dollars to eat, this is OK, because nobody has the right to still while others work to hard, but what about some of you, dressing tie, and perfect English speakers, that still the money of immigrants. OOOOH!!!, I know, you are authorized robers because you are "LICENSED" to do it, this is way you don't go to jail.... "Time to wake-up".

 
At December 10, 2011 at 4:53:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been working in this field for many years. No one needs an attorney to fill out forms and produce petitions the correct way. The attorney lobby just want ALL THE BUSINESS TO THEMSELVES and DONT WANT ANY INTELLIGENT PERSON TO BE HINDERING THEIR INCOME. I m sorry but lawyers are available to those who need to go in front of a judge in Immigration proceedings. There are NO OTHER CASES where they are needed. So unless this is a GAG ORDER or BREACH OF FREE SPEECH CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT, I can advise anything I want to anyone I choose including Immigration matters. The Govt does not specifically states an attorney is REQUIRED in any filings whatsoever and the reason is that Immigration filing is an ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER rather than a LEGAL MATTER. Therefore NOT REQUIRING THE HELP OF AN ATTORNEY.
The funny part is that most of the people requesting my help are victims of unprofessional attorneys who don't even do any work. Their supposedly supervised staff (the attorney's paralegals) do ALL THE WORK and are seldomly checked by their employing attorneys which results in multiple instances of denials of petitions and dis-service to their clients. Even the most professional attorneys flunk cases. I have also reversed some cases prominent attorneys filed and lost. SO I M ALL FOR HAVING SOME SORT OF PROGRAM WHICH WOULD SCREEN NON ATTORNEYS FOR DELIVERING TRUTHFUL AND CORRECT ADVICES IN IMMIGRATION MATTERS BUT THE LAWYERS LOBBY WOULD NEVER AGREE TO IT. THEY WANT TO MAKE THE MOST MONEY POSSIBLE ON INNOCENT VICTIMS.

 
At January 17, 2012 at 5:42:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How or where can I report when I know of someone using false documents and false marriages to gain an immigration status?

 
At January 25, 2012 at 4:06:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the USCIS Blog Team: If the USCIS really wants to limit assistance to immigration applicants to only attorneys, law students and BIA accredited representatives, then why is there this other option stating "If you only need help in filling in the blanks on your application or petition or translating documents that you will give to USCIS, any individual may assist you, This individual MUST complete and sign the application or petition stating that they assisted in preparing the application or petition at your request. These individuals do NOT file a Form G-28 with UCIS, and UCIS will not communicate with them about your case"? From USCIS Brochure M-712(09/08). Is filling in the blanks "practicing law"? Why does this option exist?

 
At February 18, 2012 at 9:07:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theres good and bad in every facet of life, I once was mezmerized with lawyers and the profession - UNTIL i started working in the profession as a paralegal. It is usually the private practitioners that give a bad name to the legal profession. I then discovered that paralegals are allowed to operate independently to a ltd extent, so I created my own legitimate company to help the poor and underprivileged. We had an immigration atty out here, who's parents came over without inspection, obtained their citizenship and he went to law school. He was recently indicted for corrupt practices (monopolizing) the H2B Visa market and putting his clients in danger. He has yet to be disbarred. It's a shame that a profession that was once so noble, has become so monopolized. But the ability of the paralegal to be independent is gaining strength throughout the country. The lawyers are always going to have their spot in the sunshine, by being the ones with the ability to handle the complex issues; such as med/mal, court representation, complex litigation and corporate counsel, etc., but for the people that cant afford such fees, allow the independent paralegal to take that role for issues such as minor family law matters, small claims, landlord/tenant, simple civil litigation, and non-complex immigration matters.

 
At May 13, 2012 at 9:10:00 AM EDT , Blogger chrissy said...

Ok im not sure what to do, this is my story. I am a 54 year old woman, i was born in canada to a canadian mother, and an american father he was born in buffalo new york, my mother didnt want me so my father brought me to the US when i was under a year old, and raised me, he is now deceased, i have no living relatives that i know of,i went to school in california all my life ive worked in california, washington state and texas, am still working for the same employer for the past 13 years. i was married to an american citizen for 23 yrs, now divorced since 1999 I have 4 great children all grown and all american citizens. My purse was stolen out of my vehicle one day i went and got a replacement DL but when i went to get a replacement SS card they refused me because of the 9/11 tragedy they said they can not replace my ss card until i fix the issue of me not being a US citizen, this is the first i heard of my problem apparently my father didnt file residency for me when he brought me to the US as a baby. I am already half over in my life, I work for next to nothing, barely surviving and cant afford an attorney, i have had someone trying to help me but every time he tells me the paper work is done and ready to file he wants more money before i pay what ever it is to file, im broke now. and i cant find anyone to tell me what im suppose to do, i need help I dont have any living relatives other than my children left and I surely cant afford all these fees. Is there someone who can help me please, im so stressed out, Please will someone help me rectify this problem.. I have been here nearly all my life.. anangel1957@yahoo.com, i dont even know what paperwork to look at they are all so expensive, i just feel ive paid taxes ive been a good citizen of the US and if i would have known this was an issue i would have done something years ago, i do have a social security card with the US and have had it for many many years and now they wont let me have it back. I am a hard worker as my employer will tell anyone. please can someone help me.

 
At December 7, 2012 at 12:22:00 PM EST , Anonymous Mariela Perez said...

I was charged $5000 for me, and $10,000 for my parents so we could all get our green card by lady saying that she worked for immigration. She ended up taking all our documents (passport, forms. etc) never gave them back, disappeared and took our money.

 
At January 11, 2013 at 1:05:00 PM EST , Anonymous professional editing said...

It is good that the USCIS is making stricter laws to combat these immigration frauds, however, most of these immigration frauds take place in third world/developing countries, where the prospective applicants are not aware of the rules/regulations that are to be followed. Most of the time The fake agents promise these unsuspecting victims with job promises. They tell them that they can move to the US with a business visa which can be later converted to a green card. These unscrupulous agents do all this with the comfort/confidence that it will be difficult for the American Government to prosecute them in a third world country where cases go on for years. In some third world country there is no national identification system, so even if an agent is caught he usurps another name, opens his office in a different location collects money from his victims and vanishes, that is very sad.

 
At February 22, 2013 at 9:07:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear USCIS director , as you know ,your famous organization , is the vital dynamic institute of the great country , I proud to come and, live betweenmy family and, is medal honor on my face the Outstanding American by Chioce , I would like your help on behalf of me to represent my case at law , in addition to present me in any thing I believe you and the USCIS is my great friend for ever , but our ,hardship life at these days is too difficult to do any thing , I looking forward ,for your help.
Sincerely,
Saleh Mohammed awdaly

 
At March 10, 2013 at 1:27:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I need some help here my brother in law is not a citizen,he went to jail his girlfriend married him,they have a baby,but they don't live together and they are do to for a court date on next month but hes asking her for a divorce and she refusing,and not willing to do anything to help him get his papers,and immigration have not visted the home,advice please

 
At July 3, 2013 at 4:12:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow I just read all the comments thoroughly, it is obvious without any doubt the USCIS needs to create a certification program for non-attorneys so that immigrants are provided affordable alternatives. Forcing immigrants to simply seek an attorney to fill out biographic information seems very suspect and questionable furthermore seems like this is something a secretary of an attorney would be doing; name, address, date of birth country of birth, date of entry, date of marriage etc... I think this is deeper than the USCIS wants exposed; I am puzzled it has taken them this long to create a simple certification for the sole purpose of filling out a simple form(s). This is not a shot at attorneys, more so an expression of hope that USCIS acknowledges the need for certified non attorneys. If the end result is to rid us all of non-attorneys will USCIS the regulate attorney and their insanely unaffordable fees? Will USCIS see that attorneys charge $100 for forms such as I-90, I-765, G235…? Will USCIS make sure that attorneys don’t charge by the hour or charge for a call? The bottom line is immigrants need an alternative to high priced attorneys, it is obvious that the communities need non-attorney practitioners that charge minimal fees furthermore it is without a doubt that doing away with these offices seems to be very unconstitutional and injustice. If I were a non-attorney I would highly consider a class action lawsuit, since when is charging to fill out a form illegal? Since when is filling out a form illegal? Is it illegal for someone who is not an attorney to fill out my own form? This is absurd and quite frankly a bunch of malarkey to its highest degree.
Today I came in here to write about an office that has assisted my wife and her kids migrate to this country legally and I wanted to rave about them, however after reading these postings I had to give my opinion in hope that our country and our department of USCIS does not sell out to lobbyists and do the right thing and certify these folks. This is how you truly protect our immigrants; you provide them with financially friendly credible alternatives while using this very same certification program to combat against fraud. What you don’t do is take these offices away from immigrants leaving them no other option other than to get financially violated and taken advantage of by an attorney. As am American born citizen I am disgusted by the language in this campaign and hope that our government show u its true compassion and concern for our immigrants. Lastly I called 1-800-375-5283 and followed up by visiting USCIS 300 North Los Angeles St. Los Angeles, Californian in where I obtained information and instructions regarding how to file for my wife and her kids… to make a long story short I was given contradictory information by both officers, wrong information that would had led to the denial of my case. Are these representatives over the phone or information officers attorneys? They sure offered a lot of legal advice and gibberish? Lastly both represented the USCIS, both had different instructions and both were simply WRONG! How about you start in house in educating better those you hire to represent your department and interpret the law.
Tom Kroener
Glendale, CA

 
At August 20, 2013 at 6:37:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came to this country over 25 years ago. When my mother filed I-130 on my behalf she did it through a non-attorney office which the fee was initially $250.00, but due to have been misrepresented by another non-attorney office previously I was very skeptical to use another non-attorney, but there was no choice since attorney's fees were very high and my mother and I couldn't afford it at that time. While the case was pending the non-attorney office asked my mother for more money and since we have not heard anything about our case but only that it was in process I told my mom not to pay anything at least we heard more. Then the non-attorney office told us that she was going to stop our case, by then I had read a lot about immigration procedure and laws and knew that she had no authority to stop anything at least my mother did it or abandoned the case. So I took hand on my case and did on my own. Ever since I promised to myself that nobody will ever take advantage of us and any aspect. Course the advantage was that I knew the language and educate myself by reading about Immigration, but unfortunately not everyone can do this, some by choice and others, because they really can not. My mother immigrated all my brothers and sister, we are 8 in the family and they immigrated their families as well. I can proudly say that I did all their applications my brothers and sisters and their families. We are all United States Citizen which I also filled out the documents for them as well. Yes, you can do it on your own but if you are not good at following instructions then it's better to have a knowledgeable person do it for you, yes it is nice to hire an attorney because attorney gave you the sense of "security", but for a higher fee and the majority of immigrants can not afford it and if some do they do it with so much sacrifice by depriving their families of their basic needs. Also, not all attorneys are honest like in the cases I had read here. And yes they are dishonest non-attorneys that charge a minimal affordable fee which in some cases end up costing you more because of fraud. But they are many non-attorneys that are very honest and very competent to do immigration services that they read and in many cases they are more informed than attorneys since attorneys used their paralegals to do their jobs. But all it comes to how well you are informed of your case and most important how well your research the person or office that you decide to do business with. Certifying non-attorneys sounds like a solution as many commented before, I just hope they don't increase their fees outrageously and continue given their services as always. Ask, ask, ask and if you that the person you hire to do your business gets bother by your questions then look somewhere else. If you suspect that fraud was committed against you report it not matter what. There will be so many frauds if the Immigration Reform passed that you MUST BE VIGILANT AND AWARE WHO YOU DEAL WITH.

 
At October 25, 2013 at 5:10:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did my own immigration paperwork from start to finish, to include my U.S Citizenship application. Some non-English speaking folks have offered me money to help them complete their paperwork. I have helped for free but didn't help others because I just don't have the time (work, family, school, etc.). They instead had to pay an attorney close to $1,500.00 to complete a simple form, where I would have charged $50.00 bucks. Not allowing non-attorneys to help others for a minimal fee (set by USCIS) is the real scam!! Which is supported by immigration attorneys!!! They are the real scammers.

 
At November 9, 2013 at 4:55:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that no one "needs" an Attorney or otherwise to file immigration applications. However it also seems that some need the guidance, the reassurance or simply the applicant does not speak, read or write in English. Having a NON-Attorney seems like a pretty good alternative. None of the instructions on the USCIS website states that the applicant has to seek legal counsel. So what's wrong with a NON Attorney?

A friend of a friend went to an attorney who went to the appointment with them and the attorney was not allowed to answer any questions on behalf of the applicant. So what was he there for? That applicant spend thousands of thousands. What a joke.

 
At November 14, 2013 at 4:45:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an immigration attorney myself, I feel that I'm often under-paid, overworked, and that I provide an incredibly valuable service of helping clients navigate an incredibly complicated, arcane field in order for the client to obtain the ability to have stability of status or to live and permanently work in the United States of America, a country offering unique career and wealth-making opportunities as well as tremendous freedom for women, LGBT individuals, and minorities persecuted in their homeland.

After studying abroad and enrolling in classes to learn two additional languages (at a cost of $40,000), completing three years of law school (at a cost of $60,000), and completing a judicial clerkship, I was shocked to only find work as an immigration attorney at non profit agencies in California where my salary ranged from $25,000 to $43,000; If I had become a teacher in a charter school, my starting salary would be higher than what I made after six to eight years in immigration law.

I worked around the clock to clean up tremendously complicated cases in an atmosphere where I got no help from a secretary (those were only for "managers", not lowly attorneys) and was constantly training student volunteers who would then leave and go to private firms. I routinely got home at 10 or 11pm at night. I spent two to three hours a day commuting to work. When I inevitably got sick and asked for time off, the agency made my life miserable, told me that I was "evil", and fired me, but did not remove my name from the court cases. After seeing a doctor in another country, it turned out to be cancer. Given the ethical rules, I had to continue to represent the client. Even while sick with cancer, I continued to help her and my other clients--winning all the cases.

Most dedicated immigration attorneys I know are not rich; Instead, they are accepting cases on which we work for years for a flat fee that usually does not compensate us for our hundreds or thousands of hours of work analyzing every arcane scenario. We sometimes get deadbeat clients who are our "best friends" when they are in need, but disappear when they have to pay.

 
At September 19, 2014 at 9:22:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with many of the people commenting here. If completing immigration applications was such a complicated and daunting task. Something that you could not do without the assistance of an attorney (who will in turn charge hundreds of $$$$) why are application forms offered freely on USCIS.gov?

Many immigrants come into this country with very little money, they have to work for months to save the money it takes to pay for one single visit with a lawyer, while a qualified rep who is not a lawyer will charge a quarter of the price. I believe it is important to understand the one thing that does run true across the board. No body not lawyers not reps should be guaranteeing the speed or approval of requests. Also the payment for the Application itself should always be made in the form of a check or money order where you directly enter the Department of Homeland Security as the subject of payment. Don't hand anyone this payment in cash, even if they say that they will send the check or money order on your behalf.

I am a Social Worker and have worked for years with immigration cases as a result of being in the field of child protection and social service in general. In my non profit we get lawyers coming in all the time claiming to be non profit or offering "pro bono" services. We give them our cases, dozens of people who trust in us go to this lawyers through our recommendation, only to come back to tell us that they couldn't possibly afford the $500 to $5000(the highest I've heard so far) fees. I have no doubt that there are good lawyers out there who are providing these services for a decent price, but that does not seem to be the norm.

The "education" that USCIS is providing is important, because there are people out there who are "guaranteeing" services and charging for forms which are free, usually these people charge almost as much as a lawyer anyways. But it also seems like fear mongering. When I call USCIS none of the reps are allowed to answer "any" questions, they either direct you to one of their offices which is often several hours from where the person lives, or they tell you to call a lawyer.

The truth is there is a lot of money to be made in Immigration and the lawyers would not be the smart people that they claim to be, if they didn't fight tooth and nail to Monopolize the field.

 

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