Resources

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Low Cost Legal Service Providers

Search for immigration service providers by region and speciality in our filterable database.

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Fight Changes to Public Charge

Learn more about the proposed changes to the "public charge" rule, download community education guides available in 6 languages, and find out more about how and when to submit a public comment.

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Know Your Rights Community Toolkit

The Know Your Rights Community Toolkit helps prepare individuals to protect their rights. The Community Tool Kit is available in Spanish, Chinese, Kreyol, Arabic, French, Korean and Urdu.

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FAQ’s about Immigrant Services Fraud

If you need to report fraud or find legal help for an individual immigration case, please call the New York State New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636.

Resource Guide for Law Enforcement,
Government & Advocates to Address Immigration Services Fraud

Many dishonest individuals take advantage of immigrants and their desire to live in the United States legally by promising them citizenship, green cards, or work permits in exchange for a lot of money. Dishonest service providers, often referred to as “notarios”, charge high sums and either do not do any work, or file papers for cases that the client is not eligible for. Many times these notarios are not lawyers and are not allowed to provide legal services. In New York State, it is a crime to provide immigration legal services if you are not a lawyer or someone authorized by the US Department of Justice to help immigrants. The most common consequence of Immigrant Services Fraud is that the victim loses money, is no longer able to apply for immigration benefits, and sometimes can be deported from the United States.

Only lawyers who are members of a state bar association in the United States can provide legal help. For immigration issues, DOJ Accredited Representatives that are non-lawyers working at nonprofit organizations that have been granted permission to provide immigration help by the US Department of Justice can also provide legal assistance. However, DOJ representatives can help with immigration issues only.

If someone is not a lawyer and not a DOJ Accredited Representative, they can only help you translate documents, find documents, or get them fixed (if your child’s birth certificate has a mistake, for example), and help you go to the post office to mail them. They CANNOT choose a form for you or tell you which form to use, tell you what kind of case you should apply for, or if you are eligible for an immigration benefit, or explain to you how to fill out a form that someone else gave you. To obtain immigration forms for free, or find out about the status of your case, visit www.uscis.gov or call 1-800-375-5283.

In 2014, the NYIC worked closely with NYS Assembly member Marcos Crespo, Governor Andrew Cuomo, and a coalition of community groups to pass the Immigrant Assistance Services Enforcement Act (IASEA). This law, which went into effect in February, 2015, imposes a lot of restrictions on individuals who are not lawyers or DOJ representatives but offer services to immigrants. Some requirements include: a contract (translated into a language that the customer understands), a cancellation page in the contract, statements in the contract and on the walls stating that the person is not a lawyer, and listing the hotline number for anyone wanting a referral to a lawyer or to file a complaint.

In 2014, the NYIC created the Protecting Immigrant New Yorkers (PINY) Task Force, the first of its kind in the country to include community based organizations as well as law enforcement agencies and federal, state, and city government offices to tackle the problem of immigrant services fraud in an innovative, collaborative way. The PINY Task Force meets monthly and has made several significant changes to how Immigrant Services Fraud is handled in New York State.

Most importantly, through the collaborative work of the task force, the New York State New Americans Hotline is now empowered to receive complaints against unscrupulous providers. The task force developed a common complaint form that hotline operators fill out and forward to relevant law enforcement agencies as well as to the Federal Trade Commission to be uploaded into Consumer Sentinel. The hotline is operated by Catholic Charities Community Services, is answered by live operators, and has access to interpreters in close to 200 languages. The hotline is also able to make referrals to legitimate legal service providers.

The PINY Task Force has also developed common language for outreach and educational materials, as well as consumer alerts. The task force is currently working on creating a New York State toolkit to combat Immigrant Services Fraud to help encourage localities around the state to take on this work.


Swept Up in the Sweep Report

Swept up in the Sweep: The Impact of Gang Allegations on Immigrant New Yorkers details the Trump administration’s using supposed-gang enforcement to ...

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For Educators

Below is a collection of information and resources for parents, educators, and students following the recent presidential election.

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A Budget for the City of Immigrants

New York City is globally renowned for embracing and integrating millions of immigrant residents, who are at the heart of the city’s tremendous cultural, ...

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City Legislative and Policy Priorities 2016

This investment in adult literacy education from community-based organizations, CUNY, and the public libraries addresses the crisis of 1.7 million New ...

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Herramientas para Ayudar con las Redadas

Desde la publicación del artículo del Washington Post detallando el plan del DHS de llevar a cabo redadas masivas a comienzos de enero de 2016, los ...

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Raids Response Toolkit

Since the publication of the Washington Post article detailing allegations of a plan by DHS to conduct massive raids starting in early January of 2016, ...

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Engaging Immigrant New York City

With nearly 40% of New York City’s residents being foreign-born and over 60% speaking a language other than English at home, we have the opportunity ...

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Queens District Attorney Sign-On Letter

We, the undersigned, write to urge the creation of a bureau or division within the Queens County District Attorney’s office dedicated to protecting ...

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Citizenship: A Wise Investment for Cities

The Cities for Citizenship Initiative (C4C) is a collaboration co-chaired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, and Mayor ...

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Need legal assistance?

Call the NYS Immigration Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 or view our directory of service providers here