In conjunction with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s effort to support President Obama’s executive amnesty, the city and the New York Attorney General’s Office are stepping up efforts to combat immigration scams.
Thursday de Blasio and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a joint task force to prevent fraudsters from taking advantage of immigrants before Obama’s executive amnesty is put in place.
According to the Mayor’s office, the executive actions offer illegal immigrants an impetus to seek legal help to access the immigration benefits, in so doing making that population that much more susceptible to fraud.
“The president’s immigration reforms will initiate an economic, political and social transformation of our cities and our country, but unfortunately, this progress also brings new opportunities for criminals who prey on the most vulnerable among us,” de Blasio said in a statement Thursday.
Obama’s executive actions, specifically the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), have been blocked by a federal judge. These programs would provide legal status and work permits to millions of illegal immigrants. The Obama administration is currently appealing the hold.
“As the president’s executive action goes into effect, New York is taking the lead to root out fraud against those looking for a better life,” Schneiderman added. “Through this strategic partnership, we will hold accountable those who take advantage of vulnerable immigrants and help make the goals of the president’s action a reality for thousands of New Yorkers.”
Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, and the Office of the Attorney General are slated to lead the task force, which is expected to focus on “immigrant service provider fraud.”
The task force, according to the Mayor’s office, will engage in investigations into immigration service providers who may be involved in “unauthorized practice of law,” perform public outreach to educate potential victims and encourage them to step forward, as well as improve information sharing to “identify illegal activity and coordinate enforcement efforts.”
In addition to the task force, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs also announced it will soon be hosting an executive amnesty legal screening event to help those who may be eligible.
“While implementation of these programs is temporarily on hold, providing reliable information and combatting abuse is more important than ever,” the mayor’s office explained in a release. “This legal screening event will mark an important citywide collaboration between the city’s largest legal service providers and immigration advocacy groups to create a large-scale legal clinic.”