(June 10) – This week, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed two bills sponsored by Rep. Pabon, D-Denver, that will protect Coloradans from deceptive immigration-related practices.
Signed this morning, HB16-1391 makes it a deceptive trade practice for a person to provide or offer to provide legal services in an immigration matter if he or she is not a licensed attorney or authorized under federal law to represent others in immigration matters.
Immigrants are vulnerable to those who falsely claim to be “notarios” – in Latin American societies, a title meaning someone with legal training. These “notarios” charge hundreds or thousands of dollars to misrepresent individuals in proceedings with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and other agencies or improperly fill out immigration forms that have significant legal consequences.
“These notarios are the worst of the worst—promising false hope and wasting precious time,” said Rep. Pabon. “This bill gives the Attorney General the power to pursue these scam artists.”
The other bill signed this week, HB16-1335 addresses a separate problem. In 2013, SB13-251 was passed, which allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. Last year, funding for offices offering these types of licenses was cut. Now there are only three DMV offices for these licenses still open, which has led to a huge waiting list for appointments. Due to this shortage, scam artists have taken advantage and are selling fake DMV appointments.
To remedy this, HB16-1335 prohibits a person from reserving or selling a government service or appointment that is publicly available without charge. This bill makes a first offense a class one misdemeanor.
“Undocumented immigrants should be protected from predatory businesses that make a profit off of the needs of this vulnerable population,” said Rep. Pabon. “Undocumented immigrants have rights and should receive equal protection from crimes, just like everyone else.”