Feinstein Introduces Immigration Fraud Bill

San Francisco Daily Journal, March 2009
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The “Immigration Fraud Prevention Act of 2009” (S. 577)

Establishes a new federal crime to:

  • Willfully and knowingly defraud or obtain or receive money or anything else of value from any person by false or fraudulent pretences, representations or promises; 

  • Willfully, knowingly and falsely represent that an individual is an attorney or accredited representative in any matter arising under federal immigration law;

 

Violations of these crimes would result in a fine, imprisonment of not more than five years, or both; 

The bill also authorizes the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security to use task forces currently in existence to detect and investigate individuals who are in violation of the immigration fraud crimes as created by the bill.

The Act would also seek to prevent immigration fraud by:

  • Requiring immigration judges to warn immigrants during removal proceedings about the unauthorized practice of immigration law – similar to current law that requires notification of pro bono legal services to these immigrants; 

  • Providing outreach (in several languages) to the immigrant community to help prevent fraud; and

  • Requiring the disciplinary list of individuals not authorized to appear before the immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) be distributed.