As hundreds of thousands of young people decide what to do after the shutdown of DACA, a local assembly member is taking measures to protect immigrants from fraud.
The program that protects young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas has been rescinded.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the program, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, will end in six months to give Congress time to find a legislative solution for the immigrants.
The application and renewal process takes several weeks, and many immigrants hire lawyers to help navigate the process. Scammers have been known to take advantage of an immigrant's lack of knowledge about the process.
The Better Business Bureau says the immigrant community is a popular target for scammers because they are less likely to report a crime.
In California, State Rep. Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-80th District) co-authored legislation that targets immigration consultant fraud.
The bill did not make it out of committee, but Gonzalez-Fletcher will re-introduce it in the next session, to help ensure qualified people are helping with immigrants with their legal status.
“What we want to make sure is people aren’t paying consultants for paperwork and then getting themselves in more trouble because that paperwork is maybe filled out improperly, or they’re telling the government things that will get them deported,” she told NBC 7.
Information on how to check the background of someone offering to help you with immigration status can be found here.
DACA recipients must meet several requirements, including having no criminal record. Immigrants who are accepted into the program and later get arrested face deportation to their home country.
They also must have been 30 or younger when the program was launched and brought to the U.S. before age 16.
DACA does not give beneficiaries legal U.S. residency; they are simply given a reprieve from deportation while being allowed to legally work.
The overwhelming majority of DACA recipients are from Mexico. One in four of them lives in California.