New York Shuts Down Immigration Services Companies for UPL28 Aug 2009
The New York State Attorney General’s Office announced the shutting down of three New York businesses that had been providing fraudulent immigration legal services. Details can be found in an August 20, 2009 press release. This is reported to MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers to raise awareness of the problem of unauthorized practice of law (UPL) in the immigration field.
New York Attorney General Taking Action
Three companies are being sued by the New York State Attorney General, Andrew M. Cuomo, for providing legal services without authorization or accreditation. It is unfortunate, but all too common that individuals rely on such services for their immigration cases. Immigration legal representation can only be provided by licensed attorneys or, in limited situations, by representatives granted accredited status by the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Common Problems Caused by Services Engaged in UPL
A wide range of problems is created by those who engaged in UPL. Using their services sometimes results in a waste of money, at the least. The losses can be far more severe, however. These services sometimes are fraudulent, resulting in papers being filed with false documents or in nothing being filed at all. At other times, those offering the services are inept, filing cases improperly and providing incorrect advice.
U.S. immigration law is complex, as regular MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers are aware. While a part of immigration law involves the filing of certain forms, the requirements go far beyond filling in the blanks. The U.S. immigration legal system consists of statutes, regulations, guidance, policy memos, and unwritten practices. On top of this, immigration law has a myriad of procedural requirements and strict deadlines. When these requirements and deadlines are not met, it can be difficult and often impossible to remedy the problems created. The errors in cases first handled by unauthorized “immigration consultants” often create undue complexities that would never have arisen under the care of a knowledgeable immigration attorney.
The Victims of Incompetent or UPL Representation
Foreign nationals affected by the companies, or others like them, that are being shut down and sued by the New York State Attorney General should consult with experienced attorneys to find out what options may be available to them. Immigrants have historically been victimized by those who seek to take advantage of their needs and unfamiliarity with this country. These unauthorized immigration services are just another example. Some of them proclaim on their websites that there is no need to spend money on lawyers, and portray lawyers as overpriced and unnecessary. The truth is that there is nothing as overpriced as useless, incorrect, and damaging advice that results in a denial or possible removal / deportation.
The Murthy Law Firm stands against the UPL and businesses engaged in similar activities because we care about helping immigrants, who are a vital part of this country. We have seen too many victims of UPL, hoping we can fix the messes left of their cases. Often, these individuals approach good, knowledgeable lawyers when it is too late to undo the damage. The price that is paid for using these services is sometimes financial ruin, separation of family members, and the ability to remain legally in the United States. We appreciate the strong position of New York, and we trust that other states will follow this example to protect the vulnerable immigrant community.