5:53pm

Thu June 21, 2012
The Commonwealth

Scams Cash-in on Immigration Confusion

Scams are targeting foreign-born workers in central Kentucky.  In flyers, a Danville business promises to help the children of undocumented immigrants acquire work permits, drivers’ licenses and social security numbers.  Jonathan Bialovsky, who directs the Maxwell Street Legal Clinic in Lexington, says such promises are empty.

“Somewhere down the road there will be a program by which the Dept. of Homeland Security can provide certain benefits, including work authorization to eligible individuals.  Now, what they’ve also said is that that program won’t be in place for at least another 60 days, or 60 days from the announcement, last Friday,” said Bialovsky.

Bialovsky believes such businesses take advantage of confusion resulting from an announcement by the Obama White House.  It halts the deportation ofillegal immigrants who were brought to the country as children but are now productive and law-abiding residents.  Bialovsky, who phone the business, says the fee is as high as $700.

“Based on what she told me and knowing the state of the law, I don’t think it’s possible for her to provide what she seems to be promising clients and given that, and the fact that she’s charging quite a bit of money, it seems to be a clear instance of fraud and taking advantage of misinformation,” said Bialovsky.

Bialosky advises immigrants to be patient, and if necessary, seek legitimate legal counsel. 

“Everybody who is potentially eligible is not able to submit applications for these benefits now.  So, wait for further guidance by the immigration agency. And, certainly if you do seek legal representation, make sure you’re working with an accredited legal representative or immigration attorney,” said Bialovsky.