Ever since comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) became a serious, bipartisan effort by the United States Congress to normalize the status of millions of undocumented immigrants and improve their quality of life, notario fraud has been on the rise.
What is Notario Fraud?
Notario fraud is a catch-all term to describe the nefarious practice of deceptive individuals who take advantage of immigrants who are not familiar with the legal intricacies of the path to residency and citizenship. They pose as immigration experts or consultants by capitalizing on a cultural misunderstanding. For more information on the intricacies of permanent employment immigration in San Diego, click here.
In Mexico and other Latin American nations, notarios are attorneys who have been entrusted by their judicial systems to perform certain civil functions. They are appointed by court systems to offer their clients legal services that other attorneys can’t do; for example, a home buyer in Mexico can trust a notario to handle everything from the title search to the property conveyance, registration and payment of statutory fees. They can also perform civil marriages and witness corporate actions.
In the U.S., however, notaries serve a very limited role that mostly involves certifying signatures and executions of documents. They do not give legal advice, are not attorneys and do not handle immigration matters. Like other English-speaking countries, the U.S. follows a common law system that does not appoint notarios in the same manner as Mexico and other civil law nations do.
What to Look out For?
Some unscrupulous notaries in the U.S. take advantage of the similarity between the words notary and notario to prey on immigrants who do not know any better. They not only take away their money, but their dreams of one day becoming an American resident or citizen. They flaunt their notary stamp, which in many cases has been proven to be a fake, and cheat their victims.
Honest and ethical notaries often remind their clients that they are not attorneys and that they cannot provide legal advice based on the doctrine of unauthorized practice of law. Immigrants approached by notaries posing as immigration consultants are urged to contact their State Bar Association and report these unpleasant pretenders.
Don’t let notario fraud happen to you. If you need assistance with immigration paperwork or applications or have questions about immigration law in San Diego, contact the professional immigration lawyers at KS Visa Law. We are a licensed and reputable provider of immigration law and provide services for a variety of immigration-related matters. Call us at 858-874-0711 to schedule a free consultation.