DACA recipients warned to beware of immigration scams

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 15: About fifty pro-immigration reform demonstrators gathered for a rally outside the United States Supreme Court January 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. Organized by immigraiton advocacy group CASA, the demonstrators called on the Supreme Court to take up and overrule a lower court's ruling against President Barack Obama's 2014 immigration executive actions, including the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) guidelines. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Scammers may target the tens of thousands of Dreamers in New York following President Donald Trump’s decision to end the program protecting immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors, officials warned.

People looking to take advantage of the 42,000 DACA recipients in the state may offer fraudulent services or misrepresent immigration policies, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. They’ll capitalize on the fear and anxiety of immigrants and their families.

“DREAMers play by the rules, work hard, and pay taxes,” Schnedierman said. “While I continue to defend DACA in court, I encourage all grantees to be vigilant and protect themselves from those seeking to take advantage of this uncertainty to make a quick buck.”

President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program has led to an uncertain future for the Dreamers participating in it.  Now DACA grantees may face social media scams involving unsolicited and inaccurate immigration legal advices services.

Some scammers use websites that look like government or official institutions. They may also tell Dreamers they can receive an expedited application in exchange for a fee, Schneiderman said. But that is not the case.

DACA recipients should also watch out for cash-only services.

Only attorneys can give advice on which forms to submit for each application. Immigration service providers that do not employ attorneys can not give legal advice or threaten to report Dreamers to immigration authorities.

DACA recipients with work permits expiring between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018 can apply for a renewal. They must apply by Oct. 5.

Free, confidential immigrant legal help is available for all New York City residents by calling 311 and asking for ActionNYC.

“As we continue to fight for passage of the DREAM Act, it’s critical for DACA recipients to have access to quality legal support in this time of uncertainty, said Acting Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs Bitta Mostofi. “Attempting to scam or defraud young people who only want to remain in their homes is unconscionable.”

For more information on the USCIS deferred action policy, including guidelines and forms, click here

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