CARE OF CON ARTISTS IMPERSONATING ICE OFFICERS
As has happened in prior years, there has been an uptick of reports regarding individuals impersonating U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers or staff tricking people into giving them personal information or money. The Tampa U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) community relations office shares the following from the Federal Trade Commission. We have had several calls from clients in the local area, so we hope this will be useful to our readers.
If you got a call from ICE, you ’re not alone. (And, for the record, it wasn’t them.) Scammers are pretending to be from ICE and USCIS. Like other government impersonators, they want to trick you into giving them your money or personal information.
Here’s how the scam often goes: They call or email saying you’ve violated immigration law. Or that your identity information is wrong or out of date. Or that you owe fees or need to pay an immigration bond. They’ll threaten to alert the police or to have you deported if you don’t give them the information they want. And they’ll tell you not to talk to anyone else about it — which means you can’t double-check their story. All of this can be unsettling. So, if you come across this scam, here are some things to know:
- ICE and USCIS never call out of the blue and demand money. So, if the caller wants you to pay a fee or share personal details like your date of birth or bank account numbers, hang up. It’s a scam.
- ICE and USCIS never accept payments using gift cards, cryptocurrency or wire transfers. If someone asks you to pay this way, it’s a scam. Always.
- Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers can make their phone numbers look real even if they’re not. Sometimes, they’ll have you look up their number to confirm it’s what’s listed on the agency’s website — even if it matches, it could be a trick.
Check with ICE or USCIS if you’re unsure about whether a call or email is real. Never call back phone numbers in caller ID or left in voicemails or emails. Instead, type the agency name into a search bar and click on their webpage to find contact information.
Green Card Through Registry – A New Proposal
If this becomes law, it would bring relief to millions of people in the U.S. without legal status. So, the question becomes, what are the chances of this proposal becoming law? Unfortunately, with the current political situation in Congress, the prospects are not good, but potential applicants can hope it leads to something eventually.
Registry is a section of immigration law that enables certain individuals who have been present in the United States since January 1, 1972, the ability to apply for a Green Card (permanent residence), even if they are currently in the United States unlawfully. All you have to show is that you entered the U.S. before Jan. 1, 1992 and have lived here continuously since then. You would also have to show that you have not been convicted of certain types of crimes, that you have resided in the U.S. continuously since you entered and have been a person of good moral character.
There are not many who qualify because of that date: Jan. 1, 1972. It is too far in the past. However, on July 20, 2022, a new bill was introduced in the House of Representatives entitled “Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929.” This would update the registry provision by moving the eligibility cutoff date so that an applicant may qualify if they have been in the U.S. for at least seven years instead of since 1972.
Dilip Patel of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, a board-certified expert on immigration law, can be reached at (813) 222-1120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org