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OPINION

Gov't aims to crack down on immigration scams

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WASHINGTON — Federal officials have a warning for immigrants considering too-good-to-true legal aid: The wrong help can hurt.

Alejandro Mayorkas, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said Thursday the government is launching an initiative aimed at shutting down scammers posing as bona fide immigration attorneys or others who can help shepherd an immigration application through a complex system.

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The initiative, Mayorkas said, is part education program aimed at immigrants looking to file for visas and other immigration benefits and part crackdown on people offering immigration legal services who aren't recognized by the government to do so.

"The primary goal is to provide immigrants with the information they need to make wise choices," Mayorkas said. And those unscrupulous fraudsters targeting immigrants are becoming a renewed target of federal civil authorities and law enforcement.

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