Practicing Law without License

By Sardar N. Durrani
Attorney at Law

According to the Miami Herald, a Lauderdale Lakes non-profit organization is being investigated by two agencies based in New York amidst allegations that the group has promised work permits and assistance with amnesty to many people who did not qualify for such benefits. Around 20 individuals claim that the Haitian-American Community Help Organization (HACHO) charged them $450 each for work permits, but that they did not receive this benefit.

Daily, hundreds of illegal immigrants from as far away as New York flocked to the offices of HACHO after having heard that this organization could get them work permits and that there was a special amnesty program available in Florida. According to complaints, HACHO would file applications for work permits on behalf of the aliens who would receive receipt notices issued from Immigration that they used to obtain driver’s licenses. HACHO’s founder and president, Al Bonnie, denies any wrong-doing.

Those considering applying for such services should be advised that Immigration only issues employment authorization to legal workers and to students working in training programs. Illegal immigrants are not eligible to apply for this benefit. An application for work authorization that shows that the applicant seeks asylum is frivolous and may cause serious problems for the applicant down the road. Upon investigation, the applicant may be subject to deportation or removal proceedings.

The American Immigration Law Foundation offers the following advice to those seeking legal services: “Be wary of unlicensed operators! They are not accountable to anyone. They are known for taking people’s money and doing nothing. Or worse, they may lie to the government in your name for a quick, simple solution that in the end may result in your deportation or permanent exclusion from the US. If you are not sure whether the person offering you immigration services is a lawyer or an accredited representative.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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