by Reynold N Mason
DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced earlier this month, that an El Paso County District Court has issued orders barring a Colorado Springs business, the Immigration Center, from defrauding consumers in search of assistance in obtaining or completing federal immigration forms. The Office of the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against Doucette and the Immigration Center in August 2009 accusing the company of engaging in deceptive practices, including claiming an affiliation with the federal government.
According to the complaint, the company advertised itself as being able to help immigrants obtain and complete various immigration forms in exchange for fees ranging from $300 to $700. Their non-refundable fees were identical to the fee the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services charges for filing the forms, which were available free of charge from the federal government. The Immigration Center also did not provide consumers with assistance from attorneys or anyone with expertise in immigration law. Under the court’s order, the business will be barred from engaging in immigration-assistance services and will be required to pay the state a total of $2.5 million in fines. The court also approved a settlement requiring the company to pay $85,000 in fines and restitution and blocking it from engaging in the business of selling government forms or providing assistance with those forms. The Immigration Center also did business under the names U.S. Immigration Center, ImmigrationHelpLine.org, U.S. Government Help Line, Liberty Legal Services, Maydene Media.
Since the passage of the Arizona immigration law in April, copycat laws have been passed in several states, making life more difficult for immigrants and creating a climate of fear in the immigrant community, even among those who have been long term, law-abiding residents on the US. Many, worried by the resurgent anti-immigrant mood in their home states, have been relocating to states less hostile to their status. After Oklahoma passed its anti immigrant law in 2007, Its authors said they were sending a very clear message: If you're an illegal immigrant, you are not welcome."I'm convinced illegal aliens will not come to Oklahoma, or any other state, if there are no jobs waiting for them." said state Rep. Randy Terrill ,who sponsored the law.."They will not stay here if there are not taxpayer subsidies and they certainly won't stay here if they ever encounter one of our fine state and local law enforcement officials," he added. "They'll be physically detained -- until they're deported." Immigrants, cowed by the law, left Oklahoma in droves seeking sanctuary in friendlier states.
In the curent athmosphere, immigrants are seeking every means to protect themselves and their families, and unscrupulous and bogus immigration outfits have been taking advantage. Immigrants needing assistance should beware. They are well-advised to seek out attorneys qualified and prepared to help with immigration issues.