LA County Planning Restrictions on Immigrant Fraud

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

September 23, 2016

Los Angeles County Supervisors are considering cracking down on unscrupulous immigrants who take advantage of their naïve countrymen. Recently, officials voted 5-0 to establish licensing requirements for so-called immigration consultants.

Less immigration would mean less immigrant fraud.

As is, any unqualified individual can hang out a shingle, identify himself as an expert in filling out immigration documents, and offer to help unsuspecting, non-English speaking victims wade through the pages of paperwork.

The proposed ordinance would order the self-identified notarios to pay a fee to obtain a license that attests that they’re in compliance with all state laws, and do not give legal advice unless they’re lawyers. Their billing rates would be capped.

Immigrants taking advantage of immigrants is a more common problem than most realize. During my more than two decades teaching English as a Second Language in a San Joaquin Valley K-12 public school, I often talked to my legal Southeast Asian refugee students who were applying for citizenship. They told me that their notario promised them that he had a special relationship with immigration authorities, and that their applications would go straight to the top of the pile. Not only was the notario lying, the fees he charged for simple tasks like translating were exorbitant.

The most effective way to eliminate immigrant-on-immigrant fraud, however, would be to pass commonsense laws that reduce mass immigration instead of playing catch up by urgently passing band-aid ordinances to solve a problem that should never exist.
 

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