Thursday, September 27, 2012

DREAMers Beware of Scams When Applying for Deferred Action

DREAMers, thinking of applying for deferred action for childhood arrivals?  Be careful not to be taken.  I am hearing of a number of scams driven more by greed than a desire to help.

The other night, I spoke with a Latina woman who told me that her son had an appointment for an "orientation" on the deferred action program.  He was going to be charged $700 for it.  An "orientation?"  Was that going to include help with filling out the forms, compiling the documents and following up in case something goes wrong?  "No," she told me.  Only an orientation.

I was outraged.  First, this deferred action program is not difficult to understand.  The requirements are out there.  There has been plenty of press on it.  Sure, I think much of the press might be a little misinformed.  But, in my view, that's one reason you talk to a knowledgeable lawyer about it.

Mind you, I am not against making a living.  I know I have to.  But, there's a big difference between making a living and fleecing someone.  Yes, I charge a $100 consultation fee.  But, it is my policy that I credit you for that fee against my total legal fee if you hire me.  The consultation fee is just an understanding that my time is valuable, and if you don't hire me I ought to get some compensation for sharing my knowledge.

But when it comes to "orientations," I am more than happy to come to a group, prayer session, ESL class or the like, and give a talk on the deferred action program (or any other immigration topic for that matter) free of charge.  The idea being that if you are impressed with my knowledge, you will hire me to give you a service to guide you through the process.

In sum, be careful of scams.  And if you want me to come to your group, just call, and we'll arrange a time.  (703) 837-8832.

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