By NYC Council Members Rory Lancman and Daniel Dromm
New York City is a city of immigrants — and Queens is one of the most diverse places in the world.
Our city is home to approximately 500,000 undocumented immigrants who face daily challenges, and with the recent insidious political rhetoric, many may feel forced to seek quick legal advice.
But some providers take advantage of immigrants by offering fraudulent services.
These providers, who aren’t lawyers, often try to capitalize on immigrants’ fear or language barriers and offer pricey services the providers may not be able to legally provide, and that don’t help immigrants on their path to citizens.
To stop these providers, the City Council bill Int. 746 was introduced last year to prevent the unauthorized practice of immigration law. The bill, which has support from 37 Council Members, would prevent providers from offering services that only attorneys should offer.
Providers would also have to list their limitations and include customers’ rights in their contracts, as well as post signs in multiple languages at their locations. In addition, the bill would require the Department of Consumer Affairs update the New York City Council on complaints made against providers.
There have been too many instances of people being overcharged and underserved while seeking legal advice, with some providers using hard-working people’s vulnerability against them. But this month, there was a joint Consumer Affairs and Immigration hearing on the bill — and immigrants are one step closer towards receiving the protections they deserve.
New York City’s diversity adds so much depth to our City, and it’s crucial to make sure that New Yorkers of all immigration statuses are protected.
Daniel Dromm is the Chairman of Committee on Education and the prime sponsor of Int. 746 and Council Member Rory I. Lancman is Chairman of the Courts and Legal Services Committee and a co-sponsor of Int. 746.
Read more here.