The U.S. government has unveiled a new initiative to combat the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL). The unauthorized practice of immigration law occurs when a person gives legal advice who is not an attorney or accredited representative. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be working together on this new initiative. The new government initiative will focus on enforcement, collaboration and education to combat UPIL. To increase enforcement, DOJ will dedicate more resources to the investigation and prosecution of UPIL cases and increase their collaborative efforts by working with the FBI, ICE, USCIS and state and local agencies.
The system for reporting instances of UPIL has also been improved. The Federal Trade Commission has made it easier to report incidents of fraudulent immigration practice or immigration scams. Victims of immigration fraud can call the FTC hotline to report instances of UPIL. To file a complaint in English or Spanish visit the FTCs online complaint assistance (www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov) or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). The FTC database, the consumer sentinel network, is shared with more than 2,000 law enforcements agencies and also with ICE, DOJ and USCIS. Prosecutors and investigators will use these complaints to investigate instances of UPIL.
To increase education regarding immigration law, USCIS has designed a new brochure, a poster, a public service announcements and a new web resource center. These efforts are aimed at providing better education to the immigrant community regarding the unauthorized practice of immigration law and where to go for legal advice. For more information about the USCIS education initiative program, visit www.uscis.gov/avoidscams.
Education about UPIL will also be improved by making the public more aware of the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) recognition and accreditation program. While non-lawyers are allowed to practice immigration law, they are only permitted to do so if recognized and accredited by EOIR. EOIR accreditation signifies that an organization and designated members are qualified and able to provide immigration advice and services. The government plans to increase the use of the accreditation program so that immigrants are able to more easily identify whether or not an organization is properly qualified to provide immigration services. For more information on the EOIRs recognition and accreditation program, please visit the DOJ website www.justice.gov/eoir/statspub/raroster.htm
Labels: General Information