Recently Enacted Legislation: Combating the Unauthorized Immigration Law Practices

Mayor de Blasio signed legislation (Int. 0746A-2015) that will help address the unauthorized practice of immigration law in New York City. The legislation was supported by the Immigration and Nationality Law Committee. Unauthorized immigration law practitioners often claim to be merely providing immigration forms or translation services, when in fact they are providing legal advice, determining which applications and forms a client should file, and making legal strategy decisions for clients. An “immigration assistance services provider” who improperly instructs a client may cause far worse consequences to the client than the cost of the services provided and the application fee. Filing a non-meritorious or error-filled immigration application places an undocumented New Yorker at serious risk of deportation by bringing him or her to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security without the benefit of having properly vetted his or her immigration status and options. The new law will give enforcement agencies new tools to determine when an “immigration assistance services provider” is violating the law.