AILA's Pro Bono Newsletter

Pro Bono Newsletter, Fall 2011

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AILA Sponsors Pro Bono Immigration Training in New York by Careen Shannon I nspired by a joint federal agency initiative to combat what has come to be known as "notario fraud," AI- LA's national office and New York chap- ter—in conjunction with the New York State Bar Association Special Commit- tee on Immigration Representation and in cooperation with Judge Robert A. Katzmann's Study Group on Immigrant Representation—put together two four- hour sessions of training on immigra- tion law for non-immigration lawyers that attracted more than 200 partici- pants on two consecutive evenings in August 2011. The goal was to help ex- pand the pool of lawyers who can assist in pro bono immigration matters in the New York metropolitan area. In June 2011, the Department of Home- land Security, Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission announced a nationwide, multi-agency initiative to combat immigration servic- es scams. The initiative targets scams in- volving the unauthorized practice of im- migration law by persons who are nei- ther licensed attorneys nor non-lawyer representatives accredited by the Board of Immigration Appeals. This type of fraud, which is perpetrated against vul- nerable immigrants around the country, is described as "notario fraud." According to a June 9, 2011 news re- lease about the new initiative, in the last year DOJ has worked with investigators at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforce- ment, and U.S. Citizenship and Im- migration Services (USCIS), as well as with state and local partners, to secure a number of convictions with sentences of up to eight years in prison, and forfeiture and restitution of over $1.8 million. This is in addition to the many actions at the state and local levels that have been filed against individuals and businesses engaged in immigration service scams. DOJ is investigating and prosecuting dozens of cases against no- tarios and other non-lawyers, focusing efforts initially on seven cities around the country: Atlanta, Baltimore, De- troit, Fresno, Los Angeles, New York, temporary protected status. TAKING ACTION: Be sure to visit AILA's anti-notario website, stopnotariofraud.org. and San Antonio. USCIS also provides information on how immigrants can file a complaint or find a legitimate ser- vice provider. Drawing on faculty from the immigra- tion bar in New York, and kicking off with introductory remarks by Judge Katzmann of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the training in New York provided attorneys with an overview of the immigration system and the various government agencies involved; the basics of both family- and employment-based immigrant and nonimmigrant visas; adjustment of status versus consular processing; inad- missibility and removability; immigra- tion court procedures; asylum, refugee status, and special programs such as Speakers included Jason Abrams, Kerry W. Bretz, Jan Brown, Margaret Catillaz, Matthew Dunn, Robert N. Gottfried, Jeffrey A. Heller, David Katona, Allen E. Kaye, Linda Kenepaske, Joanne Macri and Labe Richman. In addition, Mary L. Smith from the U.S. Department of Justice and Judge Douglas Schoppert from the Executive Office for Immigra- tion Review (New York Immigration Court) also spoke. Lawyers who completed the training will be paired with experienced AILA attorney-mentors to take on pro bono clients who have been victimized by notarios. AILA also plans to organize a pro bono legal clinic in New York City to assist victims identified through any upcoming federal enforcement actions. Careen Shannon is Of Counsel at Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, and the co-author of the Frago- men immigration handbooks. She is also an adjunct professor of immigra- tion law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. www.aila.org 4

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