Foster Calls For Increased Efforts To Combat Notario Fraud
Aurora, IL— Today, Congressman Bill Foster was joined by local attorneys and immigrant advocacy groups to discuss notario fraud and efforts to prevent it. Foster was joined by Carlos Jimenez Macias, Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago; Emily Gray, Executive Director of World Relief Aurora; and Gonzalo Arroyo, Executive Director of Family Focus Aurora.
In many Latin American countries, “notario” or “notario público” refers to state-appointed lawyers, whose qualifications are equal to or may even exceed those of an attorney. In the United States, a notary public only has the authority to witness and certify legal documents, including taking affidavits or depositions. The linguistic discrepancy can expose many—especially recent immigrants from Latin American countries—to the risk of fraudulent legal services.
“Legal exploitation has unfortunately been a serious problem here in Aurora and throughout the country,” said Foster. “We cannot let this injustice continue. We need to address this problem by cracking down on notarios who are taking advantage of immigrants who are trying to do the right thing. But we also need to address the root of the problem by passing comprehensive immigration reform which provides a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are currently in limbo.”
“The immigrant community and particularly the Mexican community are vulnerable to these kind of abuses…On behalf of the Mexican community living in the jurisdiction of the Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago, I wanted to express our appreciation, solidarity and support to Congressman Bill Foster for introducing the ‘Protecting Immigrants from Legal Exploitation Act.’ I commend Congressman Foster for taking on this initiative and working for the rights of everybody in the community,” said Jimenez Macias.
“Our Immigrant Legal Services staff has witnessed the damage caused by fraud, and so we are proud to stand with the Congressman in support of this important legislation,” said Emily Gray, Executive Director at World Relief DuPage/Aurora.
In August, Foster introduced the Protecting Immigrants from Legal Exploitation Act to shield immigrants from fraudulent and unethical legal representation. The legislation outlines specific penalties for “notarios” who intentionally mislead immigrants by providing fraudulent services. It also provides immigrants with the opportunity to resubmit application materials completed by fraudulent attorneys.
Information on the legislation is available here.