Tuesday, August 9, 2011

ABA Resolution Against Unscrupulous Consultants

At the recent American Bar Association annual meeting, the following resolution was passed targetting unscrupulous consultants who hold themselves out as being legal experts. The package contains elements such as saying victims of bad providers should be able to withdraw papers that were filed, and get a U visa.    Here's the resolution:

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports measures to improve access to counsel for individuals in immigration removal proceedings and urges the Department of Justice's (DOJ’s) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to:
(a) Develop regulations to strengthen the eligibility requirements for attorneys and agencies that wish to be included on the EOIR pro bono service provider lists, and encourage participation in pro bono services by qualified agencies and individuals;
(b) Conduct outreach to agencies in underserved locations to encourage them to seek recognition and their qualified staff to seek accreditation from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), in order to provide competent legal services to meet the needs of the immigrant populations.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the BIA to require that BIA- recognized agencies:
(a) Provide free or low cost services based on the financial need of the individual receiving services;
(b) Obtain IRS tax-exempt and “non-profit” corporate status;
(c) Employ an attorney and/or establish a mentoring/technical support relationship with a legal support agency or a qualified attorney to provide adequate supervision and/or support;
(d) Demonstrate that a meaningful portion of the agency’s budget comes from non-fee sources of support;
 (e) Require each of the agency’s accredited representatives to participate in a minimum of two trainings on immigration law each year; and
(f) Ensure that individual accredited representatives are assigned only to those cases appropriate to their level of skill and experience.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports measures to combat the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL) and immigration practitioner fraud.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association encourages federal, state, and local governments to adopt laws that:
(a) Create a private right of action for victims of UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud.
(b) Provide criminal penalties for engaging in UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud that would give federal and state authorities the right to investigate and prosecute those engaging in UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to make accommodations for victims of immigration practitioner fraud, including:
(a) Allowing the withdrawal without prejudice of submissions in cases in which a noncitizen can establish that his or her immigration filings were created or submitted by an individual engaged in UPIL or immigration fraud or alternatively, developing a means for submitting corrected filings which will supersede the documents previously filed.
(b) Allowing the U non-immigrant visa to be available for victims of immigration fraud who cooperate with federal, state, or local law enforcement, as well as state bars or EOIR, in the prosecution of those engaging in UPIL or immigration fraud.
(c) Developing a waiver of inadmissibility for individuals who face a bar to reentry after leaving the U.S. based on the erroneous advice of an individual engaged in UPIL or immigration fraud.
(d) Demonstrate that a meaningful portion of the agency’s budget comes from non-fee sources of support;(e) Require each of the agency’s accredited representatives to participate in a minimum of two trainings on immigration law each year; and
(f) Ensure that individual accredited representatives are assigned only to those cases appropriate to their level of skill and experience.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports measures to combat the unauthorized practice of immigration law (UPIL) and immigration practitioner fraud.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association encourages federal, state, and local governments to adopt laws that:
(a) Create a private right of action for victims of UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud.
(b) Provide criminal penalties for engaging in UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud that would give federal and state authorities the right to investigate and prosecute those engaging in UPIL or immigration practitioner fraud.
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to make accommodations for victims of immigration practitioner fraud, including:
(a) Allowing the withdrawal without prejudice of submissions in cases in which a noncitizen can establish that his or her immigration filings were created or submitted by an individual engaged in UPIL or immigration fraud or alternatively, developing a means for submitting corrected filings which will supersede the documents previously filed.
(b) Allowing the U non-immigrant visa to be available for victims of immigration fraud who cooperate with federal, state, or local law enforcement, as well as state bars or EOIR, in the prosecution of those engaging in UPIL or immigration fraud.
(c) Developing a waiver of inadmissibility for individuals who face a bar to reentry after leaving the U.S. based on the erroneous advice of an individual engaged in UPIL or immigration fraud.

bh

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