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Consumer Alert:

Beware of Immigration Service Scams!


Be aware of non-attorney practitioners. Very simply, they lack expertise, and they face no penalties for fraud, errors or omissions. Most licensed attorneys like myself have malpractice insurance and must answer to the bar associations and other licensing agencies. There are no ethical constraints for non-attorney practitioners.

Hispanics clients in particular should know that a notary public in the United States is not the same as a "notario publico" in Latin American. A notary public in the United States is someone who is authorized to administer oaths among others. A "notario publico" in Latin America are attorneys with specialized expertise.

Many states such as California, Minnesota and Michigan now have laws that forbid notary publics from advertising their services without stating that they are not licensed attorneys. I personally was involved in such litigation against a notary public who used the linguistic ambiguity to claim she was an attorney and wreaked havoc on many poor and trusting immigrant. We were able to close down her office and obtain compensation for her many victims.

Similarly, DO-IT-YOURSELF Kits are often outdated and can result in a denial of your application! Erroneous filing and filling of documents due to misunderstanding or unfamiliarity is the cause of a lot of denials in the immigration arena. I personally handled many cases where immigrants blew crucial deadlines and thus lost the immigration benefit for which they were entitled. The old adage is true--he who represents himself has a fool for a client.

Be aware of attorneys who practice immigration on a limited basis. Their knowledge of the field can be very limited indeed. They can do great harm to your case ranging from giving wrong advice to causing you to lose both attorney fees and fees paid to the immigration agency.

Be aware of attorneys/firms who only provide limited support.

Some attorneys only prepare petitions and leave you to deal with the immigration agency and/or consulate/ embassy all by yourself. This firm provides full consulate/embassy support!

Do not overpay. Completing most immigration processes can be a routine, simple process vis-à-vis an experienced immigration attorney. We are proud of our affordable fees. In all cases, we quote clients a fixed fee so that they can know how the cost up front. In short don't overpay for immigration services!

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Law Office of Joseph S. Hughes
213 W Ferry St.
P.O. Box 83
Berrien Springs MI 49103
Telephone: 269-473-2370
Fax: 269-912-5944

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