When it comes to immigration issues, customers frequently find themselves prey to a shadowy network of fake lawyers – sometimes working under the title of "notarios" – who charge exorbitant fees for fraudulent and frequently incorrect advice.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Alejandro Mayorkas is asking states' attorneys general to help him crack down on fake immigration lawyers and educate immigrants on how to spot them.
Mayorkas told a group of attorneys general gathered in Washington for a spring meeting that the federal government is eager to work with them to protect vulnerable immigrants and prosecute those who abuse them.
His agency and other federal and state agencies are launching an effort to warn people about the fake immigration lawyers who charge exorbitant fees and give fraudulent advice to people seeking citizenship, green cards or other immigration benefits.
Seven cities – Atlanta, Baltimore, Detroit, Fresno, Calif., Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio – will serve as test sites.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.