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Feb. 28, 2018
The State Bar of California is warning the public, and immigrant communities in particular, to watch out for and report potential fraud in response to reports of immigration raids in the northern part of the state. As a result of warnings that the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement may take action across much of the state, uncertainty faced by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and ongoing issues facing immigrants, many people may wish to seek legal advice about immigration law.
The State Bar advises Californians to avoid fraud from attorneys, notarios or other unlicensed legal providers by taking some of the following steps:
California law prohibits lawyers or others acting on the behalf of a lawyer from:
If someone hires an immigration consultant rather than an attorney, it's important to understand what an immigration consultant can and cannot do. Immigration consultants can help consumers fill out paperwork and translate and submit forms to government agencies, but they cannot give legal advice and cannot represent anyone in Immigration Court. Attorneys or accredited representatives must be registered with the Executive Office of Immigration Review before appearing in Immigration Court. Immigration lawyers can be licensed in other states even if they practice immigration law in California. Still, any complaints about such attorneys will be forwarded to the correct state authorities.
The State Bar, which regulates the practice of law in California, cannot represent clients or refer them to a particular attorney. People needing a lawyer can contact the State Bar of California to connect with a certified lawyer referral service at 415-538-2250 or email LRS@calbar.ca.gov.