Scams involving people who pose as licensed immigration consultants or hucksters who seduce illegal immigrants with the lure of easy legal papers have been common for years, but more actual lawyers are involved–a trend some immigrant rights advocates and lawyers say is occurring more often, the New York Times reports. “It has been getting worse,” said Cheryl Little of the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center in Miami. “Immigrants are easy prey for unscrupulous attorneys, and they are often unwilling and unable to complain because they are likely to be deported if they do.”
In 2000, the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review started disciplining immigration lawyers who ran afoul of the law. Since then, it has suspended or expelled more than 300 such lawyers from practicing in immigration courts. That has not stopped predatory lawyers from exploiting illegal immigrants and the companies that hire them, most of whom are unfamiliar with the labyrinth of federal immigration laws.