Our diversity as New Yorkers has been a longstanding source of pride. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Immigrant Affairs Program is committed to bringing individuals who victimize diverse communities to justice, including those who target and steal from immigrants through a variety of fraudulent schemes. A few recent cases include:
Our Immigrant Affairs Program provides a safety net for a community whose members may fear cooperating with law enforcement because of their immigration status. We operate a hotline (212-335-3600) that fields complaints from members of the public who believe they may have fallen victim to a crime. The majority of the complaints received by the District Attorney’s Office pertain to individuals who represent themselves as attorneys, immigration consultants, or who provide legal advice when they are not licensed or authorized to do so. Since its formation in 2007, the Immigrant Affairs Program has handled more than 2,500 complaints. Victims who call the District Attorney’s Office can do so regardless of their immigration status, as it is the practice of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to protect the integrity of victims and not report their immigration status to the federal government.
The Manhattan DA’s Immigrant Affairs Program routinely gives presentations to community groups and organizations on how to detect, prevent, and report fraud. In July, the Office hosted representatives from the Coalition of Latin American Consuls in New York (CLACNY), an organization comprised of the consuls of 17 Latin American countries. In August, the DA’s Office issued a warning to immigrant communities to be on guard against scam artists looking to take advantage of individuals who are requesting consideration under the federal government’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy.
Under the federal government’s new policy, certain individuals who entered the United States as children can now apply to remain in and work in the country without fear of removal for at least two years. For more information about the program, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website or New York City’s website.
Individuals submitting a Deferred Action application can protect themselves from scam artists with the help of the following tips:
To confirm whether an individual is a licensed attorney, contact the New York State Unified Court System’s Attorney Registration Unit at 212-428-2800, or go to the following website: http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/attorney/AttorneySearch
For the BIA’s list of recognized organizations and accredited representatives, go to: www.usdoj.gov/eoir. Select “EOIR Legal Orientation and Pro Bono Program,” and then select “Recognition & Accreditation.”
People and businesses who are NOT authorized to provide legal advice about immigration include: