Riverside immigrants may be excited for the news that U.S. immigration law is in the process of changing. Immigrants are now able to apply for U.S. citizenship at a more efficient pace, with less risk of being deported in the interim. However, there are some downsides to this good news.
Immigrants may unfortunately find themselves left exposed to different threats now that Obama’s executive action has passed and immigration reform has begun. There are some companies or illegal law practitioners who may take advantage of the uninformed, which is what Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez is attempting to prevent. The bill that she introduced to California’s legislature would not only protect immigrants from losing their money to scams, but it may also keep them safe from the negative legal ramifications that may have otherwise occurred.
For example, an immigrant who gets involved with scammers may end up taking the fall for any fraud that occurs during the process. Immigrants charged with fraud could end up losing large amounts of money, damaging their chances at gaining citizenship, and may even be deported. These scammers take advantage of the lack of general knowledge about immigration in order to offer false services like the ability to “cut in line” for their visa, which they may even charge extra for.
Keeping an eye out for scams like this is one way that immigrants can protect themselves. However, the bill could help out anyone who isn’t able to catch a scam in time to prevent themselves from falling prey to it, which is good news for immigrants across the board. In the meantime, immigrants who wish to file for citizenship should take care when searching for an attorney and only deal with reputable ones.
Source: UT San Diego, “Bill would extend fraud protections for CA immigrants,” Chris Nichols, Dec 10, 2014