Immigration, Illegals, and Lawyers

There are unscrupolous people everywhere

There are unscrupulous people everywhere

Scams involving people who pose as licensed immigration consultants or neighborhood hucksters who seduce illegal immigrants with the lure of easy legal papers have been common for years. But Mr. Alcala’s case and others like it are different in that they involve actual lawyers; a trend some immigrant rights advocates and lawyers say is occurring more and more often.

“It has been getting worse,” said Cheryl Little, executive director of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center in Miami. “Immigrants are easy prey for unscrupulous attorneys, and they are often unwilling and unable to complain because they are likely to be deported if they do.”

Now, now — not too awfully quick here. We do not want to portray a situation as being over-exploited; and gawd forbid, illegal immigrants in this country do not need another excuse for how ill-treated they are whilst here.

On July 28, federal law enforcement and immigration officials gathered in Salt Lake to announce the indictmentof Mr. Alcala, 41, on charges that since 2005 he had orchestrated a huge immigration fraud operation out of his local law office.

In 2000, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Justice Department arm that oversees immigration courts, began disciplining immigration lawyers who ran afoul of the law. Since then, it has suspended or expelled more than 300 such lawyers from practicing in immigration courts. But that has not stopped predatory lawyers from exploiting illegal immigrants and the companies that hire them, most of whom are unfamiliar with the labyrinth of federal immigration laws. The back story:

For $2,800, Silvia Alfaro said, a well-known immigration lawyer in Salt Lake City promised that her husband would get a green card and her family a shot at their “American dream.”

Ms. Alfaro, a United States citizen, said she told the lawyer, James Hector Alcala, that her husband, Leonel, had lived illegally in this country for 17 years and once was deported. Mr. Alcala promised to take care of everything, she recalled, and he said her husband was a good man.

But when, at the lawyer’s urging, Mr. Alfaro showed up last April at a federal immigration office in Salt Lake City for an interview for a green card, he was immediately taken into custody. The next day he was on a plane back to Mexico.

“I felt completely destroyed,” said Ms. Alfaro, 30. “I am positive Alcala lied to me and stole from me.”

Federal officials are still trying to untangle the cases stemming from Mr. Alcala’s activities, which they say are complex as they are expansive. And immigration officials are faced with figuring out how to deal with the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of illegal immigrants for whom Mr. Alcala got fraudulent documents, and evaluating which workers and companies were complicit.

Of course there are a couple of matters that are waving the red flags for us. We believe that the term ‘American Dream’ is used so often and by so many one can hardly decipher what this ‘dream’ actually is. The second matter is in this notion: Since the 1980s when granted amnesty there has been literally an invasion of illegal aliens into this country.

Is anyone naive enough to think that an ‘arm’ of the Justice department who has managed to arrest 300 Immigration lawyers we say: What is that figure compared to 15 million illegals? Time to wake up government, you want employment, employ more to ‘police’ the illegal immigrant problem we have in this nation.

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