Project END (Eradicating Notario Deceit/Eliminando Notarios Deshonestos) is a direct legal services project aimed at remedying the harm caused by notario or immigration consultant fraud through advice, counsel, and representation of victims in civil, criminal, and immigration proceedings. We are very grateful to the DC Bar Foundation, whose generous support has made this service project a reality.
What is notario or immigration consultant fraud?
Notario, the Spanish term for “notary public,” describes a professional in many Latin American countries with education experience comparable to or beyond that of U.S. attorneys. A notario, notario público, or immigration consultant in the U.S. is not an attorney nor an accredited representative of the Board of Immigration Appeals in the U.S., and consequently, is not licensed to provide immigration legal advice or legal services. Unscrupulous notarios or consultants routinely prey on immigrants who, because of linguistic, cultural, and financial obstacles, believe a notario or consultant can assist them with legal issues. Some notarios or consultants particularly take advantage of immigrants on immigration matters, as well as by providing costly legal advice and legal services for tax, landlord tenant, and family law matters. The fraudulent work of notarios or immigration consultants can have life-devastating consequences on its victims, including financial ruin, damage to a legal case, deportation, and permanent family separation.
To combat immigration consultant/notario fraud, Ayuda Project END encourages consumers nationwide to submit complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The complaint can be submitted anonymously or with the consumer’s contact information. Complaints to the FTC are viewed by local and national law enforcement and government agencies in order to identify and take action against businesses or individuals who defraud immigrant consumers.
To submit a complaint about notario or immigration consultant fraud, please visit: FTC Complaint Assist and click “Other” then “Immigration or Tax Services.”
Ayuda partnered with a team of researchers from Georgetown University Law Center's Community Justice Project in the fall of 2012 to develop a report on the options for accessing justice afforded to victims of notario fraud in the Washington, DC area. The report, To Protect and Serve: Access to Justice for Victims of Notario Fraud in the Nation’s Capital, provides a legal assessment of the problem of "notario fraud", explains the adverse impacts, outlines various remedies available to victims, and offers recommendations for how to effectively bring justice against perpetrators.
Ayuda partnered with Georgetown University Law Center’s Community Justice Project again in the spring of 2013 to develop a resource manual for immigration practitioners representing victims of notario fraud. The manual, Notario Fraud Remedies: A Practical Manual for Immigration Practitioners, offers tools to identify notario fraud, interview victims, and to advocate for immigration remedies, including Prosecutorial Discretion, U Nonimmigrant Status (for crime victims), and Motions to Reopen due to Ineffective Assistance of Counsel.
If you have any questions or would like to refer a case to Ayuda’s Project END, please contact Cori Alonso-Yoder, Ayuda Staff Attorney, at cori[at]ayuda.com or 202-243-7308, or Anne Schaufele, Project END Staff Attorney, at annes[at]ayuda.com or 202-552-3604, for more information.