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Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

Immigrants have been warned to stay clear of a new scam.

Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lorelei Salas on Wednesday, June 7 issued a warning about an immigration scam picking up speed called the “10-Year Visa Scam,” in which alleged immigration service providers are telling immigrants, through word-of-mouth and deceptive advertising, that they can obtain a visa or green card if they’ve lived in the United States for 10 years.

What these scammers are failing to disclose, said Salas, is that, as part of the process for obtaining a green card or visa based on residency, the person in question must first enter deportation proceedings – just one of many requirements, including the need to prove “extreme, unusual, and exceptional hardship” to their family members, which officials say isn’t easy to do.

In one instance, an immigrant paid a provider $25,000 for services for a process that had been misrepresented as quick, safe and easy.

“Some immigration service providers and immigration lawyers are preying on the desperation and fear of immigrants, all so they can turn a profit,” said Salas. “We want to make sure that all consumers know the hidden risks involved in this 10-Year Visa Scam, which requires immigrants to actually enter into deportation proceedings without the guarantee that their visa application will even be approved. DCA encourages New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status, to utilize the city’s free and secure services to ensure they are keeping themselves and their families safe.”

For more information or for free legal help with citizenship applications, call 311 and say “citizenship appointment” or call the NYCitizenship Hotline at 1-212-514-4277.

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