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Immigration Coaches, Visa Agents, Notarios & Other Possible Scams

Transcript of the above video:

In this video today we are going to be discussing as the title suggests, the possibility of scams involving US Immigration and unfortunately I see this rather frequently throughout the internet. There are various agencies, so-called visa agencies. I have heard of so called immigration visa coaching.  I have heard of Notarios.  Notarios are a phenomenon; it is mostly an American, both North and South American, phenomenon where so called Notarios will basically hold themselves out to be able to provide immigration advice and consultation.

The long and short of it is with respect to United Stats Immigration, Federal law is quite clear. “Only licensed attorneys are qualified to charge fees with respect to the US Immigration process, providing advice thereabout or  assisting individuals and representing them before the United States Immigration apparatus“

The reason I bring this up is, there are those and I have got friends and things, I bring this up in conversation to friends and they sort of view this as a kind of “Sour Grapes”. It is like, “Oh, you just want all that work for yourself!”  Yes, there is a financial side to this. I don’t particularly say that those folks are wrong in the sense that “Yes, of course I want more work, because that is what I do; I am an Immigration Attorney”. But that being said, this isn’t the reason I bring this up in this video. I bring it up in this video because these kinds of folks can be very, very harmful to those who are seeking immigration benefits and the reason I bring this up is, first of all let me be clear. Attorneys make mistakes, cases drag out. There are unforeseen delays. All kinds of problems can occur in a case. I am not saying attorneys by any stretch of the imagination are all perfect but attorneys do have a code of ethics they have to abide by and they do have, on top of that, they have been trained to deal with legal matters. Unfortunately,  these folks that hold themselves out as some kind of “visa guru” or something like this, simply don’t have that kind of training and on top of that, they are just basically just using prior practical experience and trying to extrapolate that over a broad amount of cases in most situations and it is simply not the same A level of service you are getting because it is not a professional level of service, it is just sort of an ad-hoc, “play it by ear” sort of service. The other thing is and I go back. There is a rule of ethics and there are certain rules that attorneys have to abide by. If you end up in a really sticky, or difficult or just generally negative situation in an immigration context, probably unforeseen, especially if you are using and attorney, that attorney has to continue to deal with you, they have to assist, they cannot, they don’t have to in perpetuity, but within the reasonable construct of the overall case they cannot just get into a minefield that no one foresaw and just sort of abandon you. They have to take measures to assist you. Unfortunately these other, for lack of a better term, “fly by night operators”, they don’t have to do this and anecdotally, I have seen it many, many times in many, many different types of cases where an individual will end up in a profoundly negative set of circumstances, maybe not of their making, that might not have been even foreseen by even a very good immigration attorney but nonetheless, they are still in those circumstances and they have been simply abandoned by this service provider because there is not much you can do; they just kind of wander off.  Another thing that is very problematic with these individuals and these operations is Fraud and misrepresentation.  I have seen this many, many times where, especially cases filed here in Thailand by certain operators, they have just obfuscated material facts or they have out and out lied in various forms and in various adjudications and it has resulted in a substantially worse off position for the applicant than would otherwise have been the case and sometimes in these cases it is things like regulatory infractions that may not have even been an issue with respect to inadmissibly but the act of lying about it, resulted in a find of inadmissibility. I have seen that happen. So again, the thing to take away from this video and again, this is not sour grapes, it is simply to be informative. Be informed of what professionals are out there; ascertain credentials. If you contact somebody that says that they specialize in immigration matters to the United States, ask for their license to practice law in the US. If they can’t provide or come up with some long winded explanation about why they are not going to provide it, be very leery, be very wary and cautious of dealing with an individual or individuals in that context.

And that is the thing to take away from this video.  At the end of the day, I am not saying hire me.  I am not saying hire anyone in particular. Whomever one ops to assist them in the immigration process, it should be an attorney with whom they feel the most comfortable assisting in their case. But that being said, ascertain the credentials of whoever that service provider is, to put yourself in the best situation possible.