Immigration continues to be a hot topic throughout Texas as it is across the country. Many people remain under scrutiny by the federal government regardless of their immigration status. Even people with permanent resident status may not be safe.
This has created an atmosphere of trepidation, anxiety and fear in many communities, including San Antonio. It is an unfortunate fact that whenever people are fearful or desperately in need of help, others will take advantage of that fact in an attempt to make a quick buck. Immigration scams have always been around, but at present, they may appear to be on the rise. Knowing what to watch for could protect you and protect your rights.
Is that immigration officer for real?
Not all scams focus on fear. Some focus on hope. One scam involves individuals posing as immigration agents offering to quickly procure green cards, visas and other legal immigration documents for you. All you have to do is pay a fee. Sounds good, right? Actually, it's too good. There are no shortcuts in obtaining green cards, visas or any other documentation that allows you to legally remain in the country.
Once you give these scammers your money, they disappear. You may receive some documents, but they will not be real. Agents with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would more than likely not contact you of their own accord to offer you these services for a fee.
Is that ICE agent for real?
In another scam, individuals impersonate agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement or some other federal agency. The scammer claims to be able to stop or delay an arrest or a deportation action in exchange for money. Many of these fake agents will appear at your door in fake uniforms and carrying fake badges. A fake ICE agent may also contact you by phone.
You should know that ICE agents do not solicit money for anything and do not have the authority to stop deportation proceedings.
Is that attorney for real?
Some scammers may contact you claiming to be an attorney. They may say they have information about your case or inside information that ICE or USCIS is looking for you. The supposed attorney may tell you that the government filed a legal action against you or that you could receive a green card or visa quickly and easily.
If you do not already have an attorney, any call you receive from an alleged attorney will more than likely be a scam. Attorneys are prohibited from "cold-calling" people for business. A real attorney would never call you to solicit your business.
If you need assistance with an immigration matter, you will need to contact an attorney yourself.