Immigration is an ever present debate, something that the whole country is concerned with, but something that mostly border-states have to deal with directly. There is a new law in the state of Utah that aims to crack down on immigration consulting services. Apparently, these consulting services are taking advantage of new immigrants (according to an article posted in The Salt Lake Tribune) often drawing Latin American immigrants in with the words “notario publico,” which in Spanish means “lawyer”, not simply just a public notary, as the words sound like to someone who doesn’t speak Spanish (most Americans).
The new law, which takes effect July 1, 2012, requires that immigration consultant services register with the state so that the Utah government can keep an eye on them. These businesses could face fines of up to $5,000 if they act in “unscrupulous” ways. The immigration consultants are required to submit fingerprints, do a criminal background check, a renewable application fee plus a $50,000 bond. That seems like a lot of money; which immigration consulting service has $50,000 lying around? However, if this stops illegal behavior, including identity fraud, which is also something that some of these businesses apparently engage in, then more power to this law.
The identity theft comes in because often, these consulting services submit documentation to U.S. Customs and Immigration services on behalf of those trying to change their immigrant status, and thus, come into contact with a lot of personal documents, such as birth certificates. While I’m sure that not all these consulting services are involved in such things, I give props to this law for trying to prevent identity theft and forcing those who do take advantage of immigrants to be accountable for their actions. What do you think?