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DeCristofaro and his team represent clients in immigration and domestic violence cases, seeking justice for those who are often marginalized in society.
DeCristofaro told the Catholic Star Herald about this problem in an email interview. One of the reasons that I love my job is that every day can be different. As the director of CCLSJ my duties include overall management of the firm, grant writing to ensure proper funding, human resources for our staff, light I.
Thankfully I work with an incredibly talented and dedicated group of people. I am blessed to have the job that I have always wanted, working with people who I respect and admire. By American standards, the position of a notario in Latin America is closer to a judge than a lawyer, with all of the resultant prestige.
Not only are notarios certified to represent clients in court, dispense legal advice and facilitate legal transactions, but they are also charged with ensuring that those transactions conform to any relevant municipal, state or federal laws.
In Mexico specifically, they can even collect any taxes associated with those transactions. None of the above, of course, applies to American notaries.
Therein the lies the difference, when a person, who is originally from a Latin American country seeks the services of a notario here in the United States, many times that are under the impression that the notario is empowered and has been trained to perform legal work on their behalf, when that is not the case.
Notarios might charge unwitting clients for free government forms, or claim a special relationship with immigration officials who might clear up deportation proceedings. Simply put, they collect crippling sums of money for work they are legally unable to do. Not only are these notarios not permitted to do the legal work that they charge their clients for, in many instances, the work submitted on behalf of the client was done incorrectly and winds up putting the client in greater legal jeopardy.
Why are immigrant communities struggling with this? The immigrant community has been preyed upon by notarios. The cultural differences, the language barrier, and a general lack of understanding regarding the complex U.
The effects of notario fraud can be devastating. My office has encountered numerous individuals who were living normal, hard working lives, individuals who went to notarios for assistance with immigration issues, only to find that the notario did not submit the proper paperwork and thus cost the immigrant their chance at legal status.
We have seen instances where notarios have taken astronomical fees for assistance with cases, and then did not even provide the clients with copies of the forms that the notario downloaded for free from the U.
We have seen people with no immigration issues get put in removal formerly known as deportation proceedings because the notario filed incorrect paperwork. This list of horrible consequences goes on, and what is even worse is that in many, many cases by the time the victims finds out about the damage done by the notario, it is too late to fix the problem.
These people are just stuck. Once someone is stuck with uncertain immigration status due to the fraudulent actions of a notario, the last thing they want to do is contact law enforcement or any government agency and report the fraud for fear of them getting picked up by immigration.
How can immigrants avoid falling prey to notario fraud? How can churches help? Anyone seeking immigration assistance should always ask if the person they are seeing is an attorney or a BIA accredited representative a person who has been trained and certified by the U.
We have had clients ask us for our credentials during initials consults in the past, and I am always happy when I hear that we have been asked to prove who we are; it shows that some folks are getting the proper information that they need to protect themselves.
Always remember if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is and you should get a second opinion. The church continues to be a place where immigrants are welcome. Providing immigrants with information about notario fraud, and bringing in qualified attorneys and BIA accredited representatives to provide immigration law information sessions to parishioners will help to educate the community and reduce the number of people that are victimized by notarios.Want to know more about the NZ property market and be better informed?
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The update takes into account: (1) post developments in New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United conclusions. I conclude with general comments about the current legal position in New Zealand.
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