Legal Sector Training and Service Provision Tools
The legal sector has created a multitude of awareness and training campaigns to educate lawyers on the prevalence of notario fraud, the impact it has on their practice, and how to help clients who have been victims of fraud.
The American Bar Association Commission on Immigration has developed an online forum with resources for service providers. This includes promoting webinars from partner organizations, such as the Immigration Advocates Network , but notably also includes State-specific presentations on filing claims against notarios and links to literature on notario fraud. The American Immigration Lawyers Association created the Stop Notario Fraud website, which provides resources for immigrants and lawyers.
In addition to training for attorneys, creating a broader market for attorneys and licensed professionals would help combat notario fraud. To meet the demand for services that has helped to fuel the rise in notario fraud, private organizations and the Justice Department have helped increase service provision. The BIA Pro Bono Project was created in 2001 and, with BIA and EOIR oversight, the project is run through CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network) with other private organization partners. BIA accreditation for non-profit service providers has also built up a base of additional legal options in communities across the country.
Education for Legal Service Providers
Continuing training through the networks mentioned above will be crucial for attorneys nationwide in order to combat notario fraud, especially as the country prepares for the possibility of new immigration reform legislation. Updating and maintaining this information as legislation changes—both on a federal level related to immigration reform and on a state level related to consumer protections—is essential for protection of immigrants and implementation of new policies, and it is worth exploring additional funding opportunities for such educational resources and campaigns.
Program Coordinator, Tomas Rivera Policy Institute
It is also important that these organizations use financial resources efficiently, and not duplicate services provided by another association or organization. The use of IAN webinars by the American Bar Association is an example of an association recognizing existing tools and promoting them to its members. IAN collects resources for a wide network of pro bono attorneys and non-profit service providers, and has official partnerships with the ABA and AILA, among many other prominent legal organizations and associations. This inter-sectoral collaboration will be instrumental in the implementation of any comprehensive immigration reforms, and in the protection of the undocumented communities against notario fraud.
Additionally, as with IRCA, regional coordination of legal processing could be crucial for efficient use of resources and for best protection of immigrants under any upcoming reforms. As immigration reform continues, however slowly, to move through Congress’s legislative agenda, it is recommended that state and local funders consider investment in application processing to protect the public and ensure that immigrants are integrated into civic life in a way that benefits all residents.
About this project
The Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, a university research center with the mission to address the challenges and opportunities of demographic diversity in the 21st century global city, has produced these featured digital publications using the USC Media Curator, an online publishing platform designed to bring together innovative research from across the University of Southern California and beyond. This project curates research relevant for immigrant service providers on the topics of Access & Use of Technology, Access & Use of Financial Services, Notario Fraud, and Driver's Licenses for the unauthorized.