Meng Warns Public About Scams Related to President Obama's Executive Action on Immigration

Jan 20, 2015
Press Release
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) today warned the public about scams related to President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration, which seeks to protect five million undocumented immigrants from deportation.
The Congresswoman urged local immigrants to be on guard against dishonest lawyers, immigration consultants, and fake attorneys, who, for a hefty fee, promise to immediately prepare and submit applications for the President’s program, even though the period to apply has not begun and the fees and forms have not been made available yet.
"The executive action taken by the President is good for our country," said Meng. "It was the only real progress we’ve been able to make on immigration in the past two years. But unfortunately, it has caused fraudsters, con-artists and very greedy people to cash in on the hopes and dreams of immigrants. Most undocumented immigrants are hardworking people who want nothing more than a chance to work, live and contribute to our nation. Not only do these scammers steal their savings and hard-earned money, they rob them of their chance to finally come out of the shadows, and have a shot at the American dream. It's unconscionable, and immigrants must make sure that they don't fall prey to these despicable schemes."
The scams are related to two executive actions that the President announced on November 20 which will allow certain undocumented individuals to apply for temporary relief from deportation.
  • The first program is for the parents of U.S. citizens and green card holders who will be able apply for three-year work permits if they entered the country before January 1, 2010. The program is known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), and the applications will not be available until at least May. 
  • The second category is the expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, which will now be open to all people who were brought to the U.S. before their 16th birthday and prior to January 1, 2010. The previous version of DACA capped the age of applicants at 30. Forms for the DACA program will not be available until sometime in February.
The schemes, which are occurring in New York and across the country, are swindling unwitting immigrants out of anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Victims include those from all immigrant communities including Chinese, Koreans, Latinos, South Asians, etc.
Queens is home to the largest undocumented population from Asia in the entire country – 80,000 people – which also makes the borough a target-rich environment for scammers.
"My message to the public, to the immigrant community, to those who know or are undocumented immigrants is: Do not give money to anybody who says that they will apply for executive action on your behalf," added Meng. "Do not pay anybody who says that they can make you a citizen or put you at the front of the line. Avoid those who say they have inside information on the President's plan. These people are trying to rip you off. They’re trying to take your money. All you’ll get from them is heartache, tears and a broken dream.”
The only thing for immigrants to do at the present time is to get their paperwork and documents in order so that when the application process begins, they’ll be ready to apply. Officially, the President’s executive action has not been implemented yet. Documentation should verify identity, relationship to a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, and prove continuous residence in the U.S. for the last five years or more.
In order to protect immigrants from becoming victims of executive action-immigration scams and to assist them with navigating the complicated immigration system, Meng will sponsor a forum next month to help
the public understand how they can apply for DACA or DAPA, and learn the exact qualifications for the programs. The Congresswoman will host the seminar in Queens, and is presently setting the date and location with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), her partner for the event. An announcement will be made in the next week or two. USCIS is the agency responsible for implementing the President’s plan.
Meng also provided information on why, when and how to hire an immigration attorney with Neena Dutta, Chair of the New York Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, one of the premier immigration legal organizations in New York, and the United States. See attached sheet for tips and additional details that are available on the organization’s website.