Homeland Security Investigations (HSI): HSI, a component within ICE, is a critical investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security and is a vital U.S. asset in combating criminal organizations illegally exploiting America’s travel, trade, financial and immigration systems. HSI’s workforce includes special agents, analysts, auditors and support staff. Its men and women are assigned to cities throughout the United States and to offices around the world. HSI’s international force is the department’s largest investigative presence abroad and gives HSI one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement. HSI has broad legal authority to enforce a diverse array of federal statutes. It uses this authority to investigate all types of cross-border criminal activity, as well as crimes involving immigrant exploitation and immigration related scams and fraud.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45 prohibits unfair and deceptive acts and practices in commerce. Under this statute, the FTC has brought cases against companies and individuals that:
(a) defrauded immigrants by deceiving them into paying the defendants for immigration services that they were not qualified or authorized to provide; (b) defrauded immigrants into paying for free immigration forms; and (c) targeted immigrants and other non-English-speaking consumers with mortgage relief scams and other fraudulent schemes. The FTC also provides outreach to immigrant groups online and in person to counsel them on how to avoid frauds and scams.
New York State Attorney General: The New York State Attorney General’s Office is the top law enforcement office for the State. It is charged with statutory and common law powers, which it uses to protect consumers and investors, charitable donors, the public health and environment, civil rights, the rights of wage-earners and businesses, and other areas of enforcement. The Attorney General’s Office prosecutes individuals and companies that target immigrant communities with false promises of residency and citizenship, as well individuals who provide ineffective representation to unsuspecting immigrants without the legal authority to do so.
New York State Office for New Americans (ONA): The New York State Office for New Americans assists newcomers in the State who are eager to contribute to the economy and become part of the family of New York. The cornerstone of ONAs effort is the creation of a network of 27 neighborhood-based Opportunity Centers located throughout New York State where immigrants are assisted with English-for-Speakers-of-Other-Languages training; naturalization and DACA assistance; federal immigration law and policies information and referrals; and business development training. ONA also funds the New York State New Americans Hotline (formerly known as the New York State Immigration Hotline.) The Hotline can be access at 800-566-7636 and responds to immigration and citizenship related questions, provides referrals to reputable non-profit service providers, and facilitates the reporting of schemes to defraud immigrants.
New York State Division of Consumer Protection: The New York State Division of Consumer Protection protects, educates and represents consumers in an ever-changing economy. From educating the public on marketplace scams prevention to advocating consumer’s interest before legislative and regulatory bodies, the Division of Consumer Protection protects the interest of New York State consumers. The Division also resolves thousands of consumer complaints through voluntary mediation between the public and businesses. This includes immigration assistance fraud issues.
NYC Department of Consumer Affairs: The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is the largest municipal consumer protection agency in the country, licensing 80,000 businesses across 55 different industries. NYC’s DCA inspects businesses, mediate consumer complaints, and help New Yorkers manage and protect their money. DCA protects consumers from predatory and deceptive practices through subpoena power and aggressive investigations. Part of DCA’s mandate is to enforce New York City laws regarding signage and advertising of immigration service providers.
NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs: The New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) promotes the well-being of immigrant communities by recommending policies and programs that facilitate the successful integration of immigrant New Yorkers into the civic, economic, and cultural life of the City of New York. As part of that work, MOIA is a proud member of PINY and is dedicated to protecting immigrant populations from fraudulent and unscrupulous immigration service providers. MOIA combats immigration services fraud by working to increase public awareness, collaborating with community-based organizations to help create a pipeline of complaints to law enforcement, and by working to increase access to credible, safe immigration legal services in New York City.
NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice: The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) advises the Mayor and First Deputy Mayor on criminal justice policy and is the Mayor’s representative to the courts, district attorneys, defenders, and state criminal justice agencies, among others. The office designs, deploys, and evaluates citywide strategies to drive down crime, reduce unnecessary arrests and incarceration, and improve the system’s fairness. MOCJ addresses immigration services fraud by working with law enforcement and city agencies, non-profits, foundations, and others to implement strategies that address current crime conditions and to connect immigrant defendants to credible legal services that will ensure enduring safety.
NYC Public Advocate: New York City Public Advocate Letitia James serves as a direct link between New Yorkers and their government, acts as a watchdog over City agencies, and investigates complaints about City services. The Office of the Public Advocate assists with complaints and inquiries involving government-related services and regulations. From ensuring services for new immigrants to protecting immigration fraud, the Office helps thousands of New Yorkers annually by improving transparency and accountability in City government.
DISTRICT ATTORNEYS (LAW ENFORCEMENT)
District Attorneys are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes that occur within their jurisdictions. The district attorney offices listed below have designated units responsible for prosecuting immigration services fraud or addressing immigrant issues in their respective counties.
- Bronx County District Attorney’s Immigrant Affairs Unit
- Brooklyn District Attorney’s Immigrant Fraud Unit
- Nassau County District Attorney Office of Immigrant Affairs
- New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney Office’s Immigrant Affairs Unit
- Queens County District Attorney Office of Immigrant Affairs