Assemblywoman Annette Quijano this week called on the “Gang of Eight” Senate leaders overseeing the federal immigration reform efforts to help crack down on people that prey on undocumented immigrants attempting to achieve citizenship.
In doing so, Quijano sent a letter to all eight Senate leaders asking that they address the more localized immigration matter that often occurs in urban cities where attorneys and notary publics seek out work from undocumented immigrants and then fail to file the appropriate paperwork on time or at all.
In her letter, Quijano noted, “These notaries and lawyers, who have taken an oath to obey the law, are instead committing fraud and millions of undocumented immigrants continue to fall into this trap. It is common to see large bold signs in streets across urban areas that advertise services regarding immigration. Undocumented immigrants gravitate to them for assistance without knowing whether this notary or attorney will eventually rob them of all their money.”
To that end, Quijano suggested that moving forward the Senate leaders address the issue by granting a special consideration to victims who can prove a notary and/or attorney defrauded them. Quijano suggested modeling a 2012 law (A-1050) she sponsored in New Jersey that upgraded offenses for engaging in unauthorized practice of law; creating a civil action clause; and providing that anyone convicted of such an offense be barred from appointment as a notary public.
“This is a persistent problem in many urban communities,” said Quijano. “It’s very sad to see hard-working immigrants trying to go through what they believe is the proper legal channels to obtain citizenship only to be defrauded by people preying on their weaknesses. As the national conversation on immigration reform moves forward, I think this is an important issue that must be addressed.”
A full copy of Quijano’s letter, which has been sent to U.S. Senators Michael Bennett, Dick Durbin, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio and Charles Schumer, can be viewed here.