Committee Reports

Testimony on the Unauthorized Practice of Immigration Law in New York City


The Immigration and Nationality Law Committee (Farrin Anello, Chair) provided written testimony to the New York City Council’s Consumer Affairs Committee and Immigration Committee regarding the unauthorized practice of immigration law.  The Committee wrote in support of City Council legislation (Int. 0746-2015) which would impose stricter guidelines for providers and further protect customers against immigration services fraud and unauthorized practice of the law.  While the current law prohibits non-attorneys from engaging in the practice of immigration law, enforcement agencies often struggle to identify and prove such activity.  Often notarios and other non-attorneys claim to be merely providing immigration forms or providing 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 to file an application for a benefit for which the client is not eligible 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 Committee supports the bill as it gives real teeth to enforcement agencies.  With bright-line requirements for signage, contracts, and the posting of a surety, immigrants seeking assistance will have new tools to determine when an “immigration assistance services provider” is violating the law.  


Committee on Consumer Affairs and Committee on Immigration – Nov. 17, 2016 (hearing details & video)


Int. 0746-2015 – preventing the unauthorized practice of immigration law


Signed by the Mayor, 2017/063 – April 25, 2017