Much has been written about proposals in Congress that seek to provide a path to legalization for millions of undocumented aliens in the United States. Among the measures being considered is a temporary guest worker program that would not only give visas to workers but could lead to possible green cards, and eventually to citizenship.
Understandably, there is great anticipation among the close to 12 million illegal immigrants. As in previous proposals that have been submitted to Congress, the anxiety and confusion have resulted in some unscrupulous immigration consultants already looking for ways to make fast bucks. In fact, some consultants have been luring people by already advertising that a guest worker program or amnesty is already here, and that aliens should start applying for these benefits right now.
In response, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently issued a public notice, advising people that, as of now, no temporary workers program exists for aliens unlawfully present in the US. USCIS reminded people that although Congress has been debating immigration reform legislation, which includes a temporary guest worker program, such a program has not yet been approved or passed by Congress.
The USCIS said there are no benefits currently available under this proposed program, and people should, therefore, not pay any fees or other money to “any person or organization claiming they can help apply for or receive benefits for a temporary worker program.”
In their over-eagerness to finally solve their immigration problems, people become susceptible to fraudulent schemes by unscrupulous individuals who will make promises they cannot fulfill, and then disappear with the hapless clients’ money. Over the years, thousands of individuals have fallen prey to these immigration consultants, whether it be for asylum, fake marriages, fake jobs, etc. But these consultants never seem to run out of ideas and opportunities to fleece people out of their hard-earned money.
Although we all hope that some kind of legalization program for the millions of illegal immigrants will pass in Congress and signed into law, these measures are still just proposals. Unless and until a proposal is passed by both the Senate and the House, and is signed by the president, it is not a “law.” It is only a “proposal.”
I suggest that people be aware of, and read the news on the current debate on immigration reform, so that they would not be victimized by fraudulent schemes. If you should hear that a guest worker law was passed, I suggest you consult with a reputable attorney, to be sure, rather than rely on rumor, gossip, or advice from these consultants. We will continue to monitor and inform you of new developments on these proposals. In the meantime, be cautious of immigration fraud.
Michael J. Gurfinkel has been an attorney for over 25 years, and is an active member of the State Bar of California and New York, as well as the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Immigration Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He has always excelled in school: Valedictorian in High School; Cum Laude at UCLA; and Law Degree Honors and academic scholar at Loyola Law School, which is one of the top law schools in California.
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