San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and others launched a campaign this week designed to warn people about immigration fraud.
“As immigration reform is debated in Washington, D.C., immigrant communities will become more susceptible to immigration fraud and scams,” Gascón said in an October 15 news release. “The best way to protect you and your family from being victimized is through prevention and education. Be a savvy consumer and beware of scammers who take all your money by overstating their ability to perform immigration work.”
One of the nonprofits involved in the campaign is Instituto Familiar de la Raza, which works with many clients who are LGBT immigrants.
Estela Reyes Garcia, the organization’s executive director, stated, “As the Latino community eagerly awaits immigration reform, it’s critical that we forge stronger partnerships among city and community based agencies to ensure that the immigrant community is not exploited in the process of seeking support for themselves and their families.”
The campaign, which will reach out to people who speak English, Spanish, and Chinese, will educate immigrant communities on how to ensure consultants and attorneys are licensed or bonded. The effort will also warn people of scammers who promise they can immediately obtain work permits or U.S. visas or make other claims.
Garcia is a member of the DA’s Latino Advisory Committee, which generated the idea for a public education campaign.
“The committee identified immigration fraud as a major concern because most immigrants are reluctant to report crime, which makes them more vulnerable to would-be scammers,” according to the DA’s office.
Gascón is encouraging people with questions to call his office’s multilingual hotline at (415) 551-9595. All calls are confidential and immigration officials will never be contacted.