New York City Council Header
File #: Res 1065-2011    Version: * Name: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to make visas, or other appropriate benefits, available to victims of immigration schemes.
Type: Resolution Status: Filed
Committee: Committee on Immigration
On agenda: 10/5/2011
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution urging the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to make visas, or other appropriate benefits, available to victims of immigration schemes who assist government officials in investigating or prosecuting the fraudulent activity.
Sponsors: Daniel Dromm , Gale A. Brewer, Fernando Cabrera , Margaret S. Chin, Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Robert Jackson, Letitia James, G. Oliver Koppell, Brad S. Lander, Melissa Mark-Viverito, Rosie Mendez, Annabel Palma, Deborah L. Rose, James G. Van Bramer, Albert Vann, Jumaane D. Williams
Council Member Sponsors: 16
Res. No. 1065
 
 
Resolution urging the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to make visas, or other appropriate benefits, available to victims of immigration schemes who assist government officials in investigating or prosecuting the fraudulent activity.
 
 
By Council Members Dromm, Brewer, Cabrera, Chin, Ferreras, Jackson, James, Koppell, Lander, Mark-Viverito, Mendez, Palma, Rose, Van Bramer, Vann and Williams
 
Whereas, Recently, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched a coordinated, nationwide effort among federal and state agencies and local immigrant aid organizations to crack down on fraudulent immigration service providers, including lawyers; and
Whereas, In 2010, the New York State Attorney General's Office stated that fraudulent immigration service providers defrauded immigrant New Yorkers out of millions of dollars in recent years; and
Whereas, Both federal appeals courts and immigration courts in New York City have been deluged with cases of immigrants who were misled by unlicensed and unqualified immigration service providers; and
Whereas, Immigration service providers are prohibited from falsely claiming to offer legal services, yet the 230 inspections conducted as part of the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs' (DCA) investigations since 2009 resulted in $288,268 in fines for this and other offenses; and
Whereas, The DCA's efforts to eliminate the bad actors in this field will be more effective with active support and participation by immigrant New Yorkers; and
Whereas, Many immigrants are reluctant to work with law enforcement and government officials to prosecute unqualified and fraudulent immigration service providers due to prevalent fears that their identities may become known to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, which could  ultimately lead to their removal from the United States; and  
Whereas, According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the U visa is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of the criminal activity and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity; and
Whereas, If USCIS issued U visas or comparable benefits to victims of immigration fraud, it would allow such victims to stay legally in the United States and protect them from adverse immigration consequences; and
Whereas, Immigrants who are shielded from the specter of removal can provide valuable assistance not only to local, state, and federal law enforcement but also to USCIS; now therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York urges the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to make visas, or other appropriate benefits, available to victims of immigration schemes who assist government officials in investigating or prosecuting the fraudulent activity.
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JSM
8/9/11
LS# 2579