(NEW YORK – February 28, 2013) As policymakers move to reform the US immigration system, The New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) is focused on helping immigrant families in New York separate facts from fiction about immigration policy in order to avoid falling victim to immigration fraud at the hands of unscrupulous consultants and law firms.

“We are looking forward to the modernization of an immigration system that is broken and unfair, but the encouraging reports of possible reform action are giving rise to serious misunderstandings about our current immigration policies,” said Yisroel Schulman, President and Attorney-in-Charge of NYLAG. “This has unfortunately created a perfect climate for fraud artists who lie to immigrants about what is possible and legal, defraud them of their money, and leave them vulnerable to deportation.”

With one of the nation’s largest immigrant populations, New York City has long dealt with the problem of immigration fraud. Immigrants seeking residency or citizenship are often lured into paying excessive fees by deceitful lawyers or other individuals who make false promises about securing documents for which the immigrants are is in fact not eligible. Immigrants are also commonly targeted for criminal exploitation regarding employment, wages, and housing.

According NYLAG attorneys who work closely with immigrant clients this all-too-common problem has now worsened as unscrupulous consultants take advantage of the excitement around a bi-partisan Senate Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) proposal and confusion surrounding new immigration regulation, such as the Provisional Waiver, which will take effect on March 4th.

As part of its ongoing efforts to ensure that families are informed and up to date about the status of immigration policies, NYLAG today presented an information session for immigrant students and parents on the Adlai E. Stevenson Campus in the Bronx, which houses eight individual high schools. The program addressed the prospect of Congress’ Comprehensive Immigration Reform proposal; NYLAG attorneys emphasized that CIR is not a law and that continuing uncertainty surrounds the issue. Students were also briefed about DACA and urged to apply for DACA status as soon as possible in order to receive benefits more quickly, and also because eligible individuals might be in a better position in the event of the passage of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform law.

For more information about DACA and CIR contact the NYLAG Immigration Protection Unit at 212-613-2226 or the DACA hotline at 212-613-6597, or visit www.nylag.org/units/immigrant-protection-unit/.