Are there any legal ramifications for you helping the illegal immigrants or offering advice such as you described?
They have a dossier on me. What do you think?
I am not an attorney, so my advice is worth exactly what the people pay for it. Nobody has to take my advice and my advice has no legal value. I suppose I could get into trouble for helping undoc people break the law. Truth is, I think/hope the government is more worried about violent crime.
If you have offered someone employment, you are required by law to verify that the person you have hired is who s/he says he is, and that s/he is eligible to work in the United States. Your burden is to complete the I9 form. http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf
If you are treating someone to dinner, chatting about paperwork, advising someone in terms of education, marriage, procreation, or even carpooling with them, you are not required to verify the immigration status of that person.
If I tell you that I am an undocumented immigrant, you may choose to believe me or not. It does not matter, because you have no proof either way, and there is no legal requirement that you verify my claim. You can, however, offer me your opinions about work, family, transportation, relationships to my country of origin, housing, or whatever you like, so long as no fees are exchanged and you are not representing yourself as legal counsel. If you advise me to break the law, you are in a grey area. If you give me specific information about how to obtain false identification, how to engage in a fraudulent marriage, or connect me with a coyote who is willing to transport my friends or family members across a border illegally, you are committing a criminal act. If you are chatting about my lifestyle and offering your opinions, you are not in violation of the law.
Think about it this way.
If I tell you that I am the illegitimate daughter of Prince Charles, you may choose to believe me or not. It does not matter, because you have no proof, and there is no legal requirement that you verify my claim. You can, however, offer me your opinions on my ascendency to the thrown of England, my theoretical rights to lands and territories and titles, blah blah blah, so long as no fees are exchanged and you are not representing yourself as legal counsel.
Nogodsforme is offering her opinions, based on claims that she is not legally responsible to verify.
However, I would like to offer some information that may be useful for some of the folks that nogodsforme might work with, and for friends and neighbors and classmates of other folks here.
On August 15, 2012, an executive action taken by President Obama went into effect. It is known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and it provides an opportunity for approximately 1.7 million young people (under the age of 30) who were brought into the US as children under the age of 15, to receive a temporary deportation deferral, along with a two-year work permit and a social security number. The applicants have to meet a very specific set of criteria, including a high school degree, GED, or enrollment in a program designed to help them achieve a some sort of recognized high school equivalency. They also need to provide evidence of continuous presence in the US during a specific set of dates.
There are legitimate agencies all over the country that can assist with the application process. My program just got a grant to do (among other things) DACA applications for free, and we are poised to start next month, assuming Obama gets elected. (Romney has said he will honor applications already submitted, but that he would allow no new applications after his presidency.)
NYC private attorneys are charging as much as $1500 to do the applications, in addition to the $465 fee. I’m sure that there are private attorneys everywhere that are trying to get rich off of low income, undocumented immigrants all over the country. If you know someone who is potentially eligible, but you don’t know of any legitimate agencies providing DACA application assistance, you can try calling your elected officials and seeing if they can refer you to a legitimate agency. If that doesn’t work, try and get in touch with your local branch of the Legal Aid Society. They probably have a very long waiting list, but might be able to refer you to a community organization that could do your application for free or for a nominal fee. If you try both of those options and don’t have any luck, if you send me a private message. I can try and put you in touch with an NYC organization that might be able to locate someone in your area doing applications.