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L.A. Cracks Down on Consultants Who Advise Illegal Aliens

Consultants who advise illegal aliens will now be regulated under a proposed Los Angeles County licensing requirement that passed 5-0 at the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

Board chair Hilda L. Solis and fellow Supervisor Sheila Kuehl put forward the motion, which focuses on consultants who “victimize” what the measure refers to as “immigrant communities.”

While the individuals that would be regulated are referred to as “immigration consultants,” the proposal makes clear from the first sentence that those being considered “victims” are illegal aliens, whom the measure refers to as “undocumented immigrants.”

Solis tweeted on Wednesday:

Central American Resource Center legal director Daniel Sharp told local KPCC public radio that the proposal is modeled after a similar one in Chicago. The Los Angeles-based group was involved in formulating the proposal with Solis and Kuehl, according to the report.

After giving estimates for the number of illegal aliens that reside in California, with the highest concentration in L.A. County, the measure reads:

Immigrant communities throughout Los Angeles County are routinely victimized by immigration scams that involve the unauthorized practice of immigration law (“UPIL”). UPIL occurs when legal advice and/or representation regarding immigration matters is provided by an individual who is not an attorney or accredited representative. Examples of the legal advice may include: how to answer questions on immigration forms and immigration options for relief available to applicants and/or petitioners.

The measure remarks on the significant majority of “undocumented immigrants” in L.A. County that are Latino. It then states that these fraudulent immigration consultants are commonly called “notarios” in the area. It describes consultants as obtaining notary public licenses to trick Latino illegal aliens into thinking they are like a “notario publico,” which in “much of Latin America” is a role said to be similar to that of a lawyer.

The California Immigration Consultants Act (ICA) defines “immigration consultants” as “persons who provide non-legal assistance or advice in an immigration matter,” according to the Solis-Kuehl proposal. The proposal alleges that these immigration consultants or “compromise the integrity of the legal immigration system.”  foreign nationals who are in America illegally, from being deported.

The Solis-Kuehl “County Licensing Requirement for Immigration Consultants” proposal requires “the County Counsel, in consultation with the Director of Consumer and Business Affairs; the Treasurer and Tax Collector, ex officio license issuer; and other relevant County departments to report back in 90 days with a proposed ordinance that would license immigration consultants, and other recommended ordinances needed to help combat immigration services fraud.”

The resolution also directs “the District Attorney, in consultation with the Treasurer and Tax Collector, Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, the Executive Officer – Board of Supervisors on behalf of the Business License Commission, County Counsel and other related departments, to report back in 90 days on strategy for enforcing violations which may include civil fines and penalties, as well as criminal prosecution.”

Several other provisions seek to determine fees to be enforced, a marketing and outreach program, and a budget for such efforts. The proposal also considers options for providing consumers — such as illegal aliens seeking legal status — with information on which businesses are compliant with the new ordinance(s).

Finally, the resolution directs “the Treasurer and Tax Collector and Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, in consultation with County Counsel, to report back in 90 days on any recommendations regarding potential legislation to combat notario fraud and legally challenge immigration consultants and notarios for fraudulent, deceptive or unfair practices.”

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana 

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