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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Warning on Potential Scams Targeting Young Immigrants

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Contact: (415) 703-5837

SAN FRANCISCO --- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today warned Californians about potential scams targeting young immigrants seeking to participate in the federal government’s recently launched Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Beginning today, certain young immigrants who were brought to United States as children and meet several key guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal, and, as a result, may be eligible for work authorization. To learn more about the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, please visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website: http://www.uscis.gov.

While the California Attorney General’s Office has not yet received any citizen complaints of scams directly related to this new program, immigrants are often the target of consumer scams and should be vigilant in seeking assistance related to the Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

To combat the threat of scams, Attorney General Harris has provided the following information and tips as eligible immigrants begin to apply for consideration:

If you are seeking help from an attorney:

  • Is the person offering legal services a lawyer licensed by the State Bar of California? You can check out an attorney online at http://www.calbar.ca.gov/ or by calling 1-800-843-9053.
  • If you cannot afford a private attorney, the Board of Immigration Appeals provides a list of attorneys who provide immigration services either for free or for very little cost. This list is available online at http://www.justice.gov/eoir/probono/states.htm. You can also contact your local legal aid office. For a referral, visit www.lsc.gov and click on the Find Legal Assistance tab.

If you are seeking help from an immigration consultant:

  • Immigration consultants are required to register with the California Secretary of State’s Office, and to post a $50,000 bond. You can check out an Immigration Consultant online at http://www.sos.ca.gov/business/sf/bond_search/ or by calling 1-916-653-3984.
  • It is against the law for an immigration consultant to give legal advice. An immigration consultant can only give you non-legal help, such as translating your answers to questions on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services forms.
  • Get a written contract signed and dated by the immigration consultant. Make sure the contract lists the full name and contact information for the immigration consultant, the services you were promised and how much you have agreed to pay. The contract must be written in both English and your language. You have the right to cancel the contract within 72 hours of signing the contract. You must cancel the contract in writing. Give only copies of original documents to the immigration consultant; keep your originals in a safe place.

If you have a complaint against an Immigration Consultant, please contact the California Attorney General’s Office. You can file a complaint online at https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company or by mailing your complaint to Office of the Attorney General, Public Inquiry Unit, P.O. Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550.

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