Last month, HB 5513 was passed in the Connecticut House of Representatives and was placed on the calendar to be considered in the Senate. If passed, the act will help make sure “Notarios” do not offer legal assistance with immigration matters or mislead people into believing they can offer certain legal services that only attorneys can legally offer. In some countries, Notarios Publicos have a lot of legal skills and training and give legal services like that of attorneys. In the United States, notaries public are limited in their practice and cannot offer legal advice or decide which forms to file, or file forms in immigration matters. These services can only be provided by Immigration Attorneys and BI-accredited representatives.
Some “Notarios” falsy identify themselves as attorneys and charge immigrants large fees to give legal advice and assistance in immigration matters. This is illegal under federal law and poses a serious threat to the people they claim to be helping. Without a comprehensive knowledge and care for the law, their illegal services can lead to applicants being harmed and sometimes deported. It is unfair for people to be misled into believing they are being helped by an expert, and to pay money for fraudulent, illegal services. This needs to stop.
House Bill 5513 addresses the issue of falsely advertised Notarios and reads as follows:
AN ACT CONCERNING THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW BY NOTARIES PUBLIC.
To clarify that notaries public may not (1) offer legal assistance in immigration matters unless they are attorneys or otherwise permitted to provide assistance in such matters pursuant to federal law; or (2) falsely convey the impression that they are attorneys by use of certain titles.
Let us know your thoughts and any experiences you’ve had with this issue in the comments below!