About the Fraudulent Immigration Services Awareness Campaign 

  • The City of Saint Paul is launching the Fraudulent Immigration Services Campaign, which will provide Saint Paul community members with information on immigration scams. 
  • The goal of the campaign is straightforward: inform the community about how to identify, respond to, and report fraudulent immigration services.
  • This awareness campaign is financially supported by the Local Consumer Financial Protection Initiative at the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund.
  • This awareness campaign is a partnership between the Office of Financial Empowerment and the Immigrant and Refugee Program in the City Attorney’s Office.

What are fraudulent immigration services? 

  • Fraudulent immigration services are a type of scam in which individuals who are not licensed to practice law in the US or BIA-authorized present themselves as trustworthy resources for those seeking immigration assistance. 
  • Fraudulent services vary in form and marketing. 
  • Many fraudulent services will overcharge based on the false promise that documents will be submitted correctly and in a timely manner such that a chance in one’s legal status will be accelerated. 
  • Many documents are publicly available and can be filled out with little to no cost assistance from experienced organizations. 

When does immigration fraud occur?

Fraudulent immigration services tend to increase following major shifts in US immigration law and policy. Fraudsters will use these occurrences to over-exaggerate the effects if policy and law changes to gain customers.

One prominent example is notario fraud, which refers to a very specific type of scam unique to Latino and Spanish-speaking communities.

  • In Latin American countries, Notarios Publicos are highly trained legal professionals who provide legal services and advice.
  • However, in the US, “notarios”, or Notaries, are NOT trained or authorized to assist in immigration matters. This discrepancy allows fraudulent individuals to use the “notario” title to deceive victims from Latino and Spanish-speaking communities who believe they are receiving legitimate legal guidance.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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Additional immigration resources

The Advocates for Human Rights

The organization is dedicated to the promotion and protection of internationally recognized human rights. The Advocates documents human rights abuses, advocates on behalf of individual victims, educates on human rights issues, and provides training and technical assistance to address and prevent human rights violations. Client intake number: 612-341-9845. https://www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org/Home.

ACLU Minnesota

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota continues to protect the civil liberties of all Minnesotans through litigation, public education, and lobbying. https://www.aclu-mn.org/

CLUES

A linguistically and culturally relevant resource and service nonprofit organization by Latinos for Latinos. https://clues.org/

Casa de Esperanza

Casa De Esperanza works to eliminate violence against women and children in the Latino community and the community at large. Offers family and court advocacy, bilingual 24-hour crisis response and shelter. https://esperanzaunited.org/en/

Coalitional of Asian American Leaders

A nonprofit organization focused on harnessing the collective power of Asian Minnesotan leaders to improve the lives of communities. CAAL works to uplift and support leaders, advance the shared priority issues of education and economics, weave relationships, and build solidarity across IPOC communities. https://caalmn.org/

Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota

A non-profit providing immigration legal assistance and policy advocacy for low-income immigrants and refugees in Minnesota. For assistance with questions and concerns regarding immigration rights, and to receive accurate information and competent legal advice, community members may call this hotline: 651-287-3715. https://www.ilcm.org/

Release MN 8

In August 2016, eight Cambodian Americans from Minnesota were detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The families of these individuals are demanding the immediate release of their loved ones in detention, as well as the right to return for those who have been deported. Access the Southeast Asian American Solidarity toolkit online.

Additional online tool from the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

AILA is a professional legal association of private lawyers. AILA and ailalawyer.com offer no legal advice, recommendations, mediation or counseling under any circumstance. This online tool may assist with identifying a private immigration attorney near you. www.ailalawyer.com.

Last Edited: September 17, 2021