New law aims to curb harmful immigration practices, but reporting them remains paramount
By Doug Chartier
LAW WEEK COLORADO
Colorado is making headway on combating a major problem threatening immigrant communities as well as the integrity of immigration legal practice.
A new state law that targets the unauthorized practice of immigration law, combined with an outreach campaign by the Colorado State Attorney General’s Office, aims to help protect immigrants from what’s become known as “notario fraud.” To minimize the harm of unauthorized immigration practices, the state Attorney General’s Office and the Colorado Supreme Court are asking lawyers and community leaders to report notario fraud wherever they suspect it.
In many Latin American countries, the word “notario” refers to someone who is qualified to practice law. This causes confusion among Latin American immigrants who might therefore incorrectly assume that a notary public in the U.S. is likewise qualified to represent or advise them regarding immigration law. Some individuals capitalize on this confusion of terms, advertising themselves as “notarios” and misleading immigrants to believe they can help them with immigration-related applications, documents and legal proceedings.
As a result, immigrants can end up losing thousands of dollars over documents filed incorrectly or not at all, which can even lead to their deportation.