Albany, NY — April 1, 2010 — Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), Chairman of the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions has introduced legislation to prevent private immigration legal aid scams in New York State. This bill (A.10162) would end the defrauding of New York’s immigrants, one of the state’s most vulnerable populations.
A recent investigation by the Attorney General Cuomo’s office revealed scams across New York State involving deceitful private immigration aid providers. These deceptive businesses and individuals promised to provide legal support with no intention on following through, instead stealing millions of dollars from needy immigrants asking for help.
This legislation punishes criminals involved in scams by doubling fines for violations and empowering the Attorney General’s office to treat repeat offenders as felons. In order to prevent future fraud, this legislation creates a registry for all private individuals and businesses purporting to offer legal advice to immigrants.
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester) stated, “We are working on behalf of New York’s most vulnerable population to ensure they are not preyed upon by deceitful organizations and individuals. It is the duty of legislators to take a stand and make certain that the immigrant population of New York is fully supported and protected.”
Assemblyman Peter M. Rivera (D-Bronx) stated, "This important and powerful legislation put forward by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky will, if signed into law, forever protect immigrants from fraudulent acts and criminal business enterprises that are now stealing the dreams and hard-earned savings of those looking to become American citizens. New York's large immigrant communities have been waiting for a long time for such protections. Assemblyman Brodsky's efforts are a tremendous step forward and his leadership to stop these abuses is highly commended.”
Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) stated, “Our newest Americans are often the ones who are most vulnerable to fraudulent legal services and other deceptive practices. This piece of legislation will provide stricter enforcement provisions and strengthen transparency with our State’s network of immigration service providers. False and incorrect documents or careless mistakes can drastically delay the citizenship process or ruin a person and his family's American dream forever. Getting tougher on immigration service providers translates into justice for all — not justice for a few, or those who are fluent in English.”
Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny (D-Coney Island) stated, “As a former immigrant, I know how vital immigration services are for new Americans, while transitioning into a new culture. It is disgraceful that there are immigrant assistance service providers that deceive our newest settlers into fraudulent acts. Regulating these agencies and increasing penalties for violators will certainly be beneficial in preventing future inciden
Assemblyman Marcos A. Crespo (D-Bronx) stated, “This is an important measure to protect a vulnerable segment of the population. There should be oversight and accountability when people invest their limited resources into these vital programs. Now more than ever we need to introduce good legislation that will protect immigrants, and discourage individuals from partaking in fraudulent practices.”
Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski (D-New City) stated, “Offering fraudulent and deceptive services to vulnerable populations is unconscionable and should be met with swift enforcement of strict penalties; Immigrants seeking legal or other assistance from these organizations will hopefully now be assured of their integrity.”
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) stated, “Immigration services are vital to my community in Brooklyn and throughout New York. To take advantage of this population in their most vulnerable state, while in need, is unconscionable. I commend Assemblymember Brodsky for putting this legislation together and I look forward to swift passage so we can better protect and support our valuable immigrant population.”
Assemblyman Nelson Castro (D-Bronx) stated, “Once Again, New York State has proven to be an immigration friendly state by providing a protection for consumers of immigration services. I am completely in support of this legislation. A Buena Hora!”
SOURCE: Press Release