Beware of Immigration Fraud: The Wrong Advice Can Hurt You

Beware of Immigration Fraud: The Wrong Advice Can Hurt You

By Krystal Ramsaroop

Immigrants can be classified as a “vulnerable population” because they are constantly at an increased risk for poor physical, psychological, and social health. They are faced with the day-today challenges of obtaining the basic desires of life, such as freedom, human rights, and flexibility. With the influx of thousands of migrants entering the State of New York, it is important to gain accurate information to understand the situation better and be aware of different legal pathways for those migrating. According to the New York Times, Mayor Adams has been struggling exponentially to find proper shelter for these persons, amongst other crucial resources. As these individuals become more exposed and distressed, they may be victims of specific entities such as fraud or criminal misconduct. Due to this, most immigrants seek lawyers or legal aid to help with their process and any further occurrences as a form of protection.

Just as a doctor who makes mistakes, the consequence of gaining wrong or bad legal advice can change your life in the worst way possible. In the area of immigration, there would be an increased risk of removal, deportation, missed deadlines, and increased costs. Therefore, you must get good advice. There are many benefits to gaining proper professional help, such as understanding your legal rights and responsibilities, proper paperwork, representation in a court of law, saving time, and navigating the legal complexities. At the recent “An Introduction to Immigration Law Boot Camp,” speakers from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) shared some valuable information.

The Immigrant Affairs Unit of the District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has many resources to assist persons in clarifying legal suspicions or reporting any misconduct. They specialize in investigating and prosecuting fraud against immigrants and educate the population on the accessibility and availability of their services through various seminars. Luis Morales, the head of this unit, stated, “We take complaints regardless of immigration status. Our responsibility is to the citizens of the State of New York and to ensure we are looking out for and protecting your rights.”

Mr. Morales also stated that they have multiple interpreters. However, even though their department is limited to Manhattan only, branches in the other boroughs of New York are available. A few tips he shared to avoid specific scams when people seek legal representation are asking whether an attorney is licensed or accredited.

Secondly, do not pay cash because it is not as easily traceable. Thirdly, do not sign blank documents in a language you are unfamiliar with. Apart from the impersonation of attorney scams, some of the most common frauds to be aware of are persons disguised as ICE agents, employment investment scams, and public housing scams.

For further information, you can send an email directly to Mr. Morales at, or you can contact the hotline at 212-335-3600. There is also a WhatsApp/WeChat available at 347-371-0877. The general email for this unit is You can also verify attorneys or gather further information on the following websites:




Department of Homeland Security
One needs to be aware of the duties and responsibilities of various Homeland Security departments. Ms. Shyconia A. Burden-Noten of the NYC Community Relations Department of USCIS was delighted to shed some light on the topic. USCIS is responsible for adjudicating applications for immigration benefits such as green cards, work permits, or US citizenship located at 26 Federal Plaza NYC.

Secondly, there is ICE, responsible for making arrests and removing persons from the USA and has jurisdiction over immigrants in custody.

Thirdly, Customs and Border Protection determines who is admissible to the USA and who can enter.

Ms. Burden-Noten acknowledges that scammers perpetrate lawyers and practice fraudulent behavior. Hence, going to the right website at is best. She advised that when signing off on applications, read the details carefully because there can be severe repercussions for acknowledging incorrect information. “It is never a good idea to lie to an immigration officer,” stated Ms. Burden-Noten. “Never give anyone your original documents, and always keep receipts,” she emphasized. This is crucial for keeping a record of accountability and protecting your information. You can visit the following website to prevent fraud:

If you know someone affected by immigration fraud, kindly pass on the information and spread knowledge regardless of the situation so that persons can be aware of the information provided here.

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