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Immigration-Related UPL Is on the Rise, Attorneys Report

Chicago area immigration attorneys have reportedly seen an uptick in both demand for their services and immigration scams (http://bit.ly/2pw699g). Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued a press release warning immigrant communities about potential fraud (http://bit.ly/2qzEDev). Her office recently sued southwest suburb-based Norma Bonilla, who is accused of immigration fraud (http://cbsloc.al/2r18JYe). Bonilla has allegedly defrauded at least four people who were seeking immigration law services. Bonilla is not an attorney.

How do people fall prey to these scams? In some cases, their misunderstanding based on the legal conventions of their native cultures may lead them to fall victim to the unauthorized practice of law.

In some countries, for example, notaries ("notarios") are authorized to provide some basic legal services, while in the U.S. they are merely authorized to witness signatures. As such, it is understandable that some immigrants may assume that a notary can assist them with legal services, including immigration services. According to an FAQ published by the ISBA Task Force on Unauthorized Practice of Law, in addition to licensed attorneys, not-for-profit entities registered with the Board of Immigration Appeals can provide immigration law services (http://bit.ly/2ps85mA).

Find out more in the June Illinois Bar Journal.

Posted on Jun 14, 2017 by Mark Mathewson | Comments (0)
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