Print Friendly HOUSE BILL NO. 790 – Immigration assistant practices
HOUSE BILL NO. 790
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H0790......................................................by STATE AFFAIRS
IMMIGRANT ASSISTANCE - Amends and adds to existing law to provide for
registration of persons providing immigration assistance; to permit
nonlegal assistance; to provide for fees; to require a written contract; to
provide requirements and a right to rescind; to provide prohibited
activities; and to provide penalties.
03/08 House intro - 1st rdg - to printing
03/09 Rpt prt - to St Aff
]]]] LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF IDAHO ]]]]
Fifty-eighth Legislature Second Regular Session - 2006
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
HOUSE BILL NO. 790
BY STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
1 AN ACT
2 RELATING TO IMMIGRATION PRACTICES; AMENDING THE HEADING FOR TITLE 51, IDAHO
3 CODE; AMENDING TITLE 51, IDAHO CODE, BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW CHAPTER 2,
4 TITLE 51, IDAHO CODE, TO PROVIDE LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS, TO DEFINE TERMS, TO
5 PROVIDE EXEMPTIONS, TO PROVIDE FOR REGISTRATION AND CHANGE OF ADDRESS, TO
6 PERMIT NONLEGAL ASSISTANCE AND TO PROVIDE FOR FEES, TO REQUIRE A WRITTEN
7 CONTRACT, TO PROVIDE REQUIREMENTS AND A RIGHT TO RESCIND, TO PROVIDE PRO-
8 HIBITED ACTIVITIES AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES; AND TO PROVIDE SEVERABILITY.
9 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Idaho:
10 SECTION 1. That the Heading for Title 51, Idaho Code, be, and the same is
11 hereby amended to read as follows:
12 TITLE 51
13 NOTARIES PUBLIC AND COMMISSIONERS OF DEEDS IMMIGRATION
14 ASSISTANT PRACTICES
15 SECTION 2. That Title 51, Idaho Code, be, and the same is hereby amended
16 by the addition thereto of a NEW CHAPTER, to be known and designated as Chap-
17 ter 2, Title 51, Idaho Code, and to read as follows:
18 CHAPTER 2
19 IMMIGRATION ASSISTANT PRACTICES ACT
20 51-201. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS. The legislature finds and declares that
21 assisting persons regarding immigration matters substantially affects the pub-
22 lic interest. The practices of immigration assistants have a significant
23 impact on the residents of the state of Idaho. It is the intent of the legis-
24 lature to establish rules of practice and conduct for immigration assistants
25 to promote honesty and fair dealing with residents and to preserve public con-
27 51-202. DEFINITIONS. As used in this chapter:
28 (1) "Immigration assistant" means every person who, for compensation or
29 the expectation of compensation, gives nonlegal assistance on an immigration
30 matter. That assistance is limited to:
31 (a) Transcribing responses to a government agency form selected by the
32 customer which is related to an immigration matter, but does not include
33 advising a person as to his or her answers on those forms;
34 (b) Translating a person's answer to questions posed on those forms;
35 (c) Securing for a person supporting documents currently in existence,
36 such as birth and marriage certificates, which may be needed to submit
37 with those forms;
38 (d) Making referrals to attorneys who could undertake legal representa-
39 tion for a person in an immigration matter.
1 (2) "Immigration matter" means any proceeding, filing, or action affect-
2 ing the nonimmigrant, immigrant or citizenship status of any person which
3 arises under immigration and naturalization law, executive order or presiden-
4 tial proclamation, or which arises under action of the United States depart-
5 ment of homeland security, the United States department of labor, or the
6 United States department of state.
7 51-203. EXEMPTIONS. The following persons are exempt from all provisions
8 of this chapter:
9 (1) An attorney licensed to practice law in this state where such attor-
10 ney renders services in the course of his or her practice as an attorney and a
11 legal intern, as described by court rule, or a paralegal employed by and under
12 the direct supervision of such an attorney.
13 (2) A nonprofit corporation or clinic affiliated with a law school in
14 this state that provides immigration consulting services to clients without
15 charge beyond a request for reimbursement of the corporation's or clinic's
16 reasonable costs relating to providing immigration services to that client.
17 "Reasonable costs" include, but are not limited to, the costs of photocopying,
18 telephone calls, document requests and the filing fees for immigration forms.
19 51-204. REGISTRATION -- CHANGE OF ADDRESS -- NONLEGAL ASSISTANCE PERMIT-
20 TED -- FEES. (1) Any person who engages in the business of an immigration
21 assistant shall register with the office of the secretary of state and provide
22 his or her name, business address, home address, and business and home tele-
23 phone numbers. An immigration assistant who has registered shall inform the
24 secretary of state of any changes in his or her name, address or telephone
25 number within thirty (30) calendar days of such change.
26 (2) Immigration assistants shall offer or provide only nonlegal assis-
27 tance in an immigration matter as defined in section 51-202, Idaho Code. Any
28 immigration assistant who also performs other duties including language trans-
29 lation or notary public services shall clearly indicate that such services are
30 not that of providing assistance in an immigration matter and further shall
31 indicate that immigration assistance services shall be contracted separate and
32 apart from such language translation or notary public services, and shall be
33 governed by the provisions of this chapter.
34 (3) The secretary of state may, as prescribed by rule, charge reasonable
35 fees to registrants enumerated in subsection (1) of this section to implement
36 the provisions of this chapter. All fees collected by the secretary of state
37 shall be deposited into the immigration assistant practices act fund which is
38 hereby created in the state treasury. All moneys in the fund may be utilized
39 by the secretary of state in administering the provisions of this chapter.
40 51-205. WRITTEN CONTRACT -- REQUIREMENTS -- RIGHT TO RESCIND. (1) An
41 immigration assistant who provides immigration assistance to a customer shall
42 provide the customer with a written contract that includes the following pro-
44 (a) An explanation of the services to be performed;
45 (b) Identification of all compensation and costs to be charged to the
46 customer for the services to be performed;
47 (c) A statement that the documents submitted in support of an application
48 for nonimmigrant, immigrant or naturalization status may not be retained
49 by the assistant for any purpose, including payment of compensation or
51 (d) A statement that the immigration assistant is not an attorney and may
52 not perform legal services. This statement shall be on the face of the
1 contract in ten (10) point bold type print; and
2 (e) A statement that the customer has seventy-two (72) hours to rescind
3 the contract. This statement shall be conspicuously set forth in the con-
5 (2) The written contract shall be provided in both English and in the
6 language of the customer.
7 (3) A copy of the written contract shall be provided to the customer by
8 the immigration assistant upon execution of the contract.
9 (4) A customer has the right to rescind a contract within seventy-two
10 (72) hours of the signing of the contract.
11 (5) Any documents identified in subsection (1)(c) of this section shall
12 be returned upon demand of the customer.
13 (6) All contracts shall itemize the cost of services to be performed and
14 provide an estimated maximum cost for the immigration assistant's services.
15 Should this maximum be exceeded, the client shall be notified and a new con-
16 tract shall be entered into between the immigration assistant and the client.
17 51-206. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES. In the course of dealing with customers or
18 prospective customers, an immigration assistant shall not:
19 (1) Make any statement or imply that the immigration assistant can or
20 will obtain special favors from or has special influence with the United
21 States department of homeland security;
22 (2) Retain any compensation for services not performed;
23 (3) Refuse to return documents supplied by, prepared by, or paid for by
24 the customer upon the request of the customer. These documents must be
25 returned upon request even if there is a fee dispute between the immigration
26 assistant and the customer;
27 (4) Represent or advertise, in connection with the provision of immigra-
28 tion assistance, other titles or credentials including, but not limited to,
29 "notary public" or "immigration consultant" that could cause a customer to
30 believe that the immigration assistant possesses special professional skills;
31 (5) Communicate in any manner, oral or written, that registration under
32 this chapter is an indicator of special skill or expertise or that it allows
33 the person to provide advice on an immigration matter;
34 (6) Give any legal advice concerning an immigration matter.
35 51-207. PENALTIES. (1) The legislature finds and declares that any viola-
36 tion of this chapter substantially affects the public interest and is an
37 unfair and deceptive act or practice and may be prosecuted under the consumer
38 protection act.
39 (2) Any person violating this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor
40 and may be ordered to provide restitution to the victim.
41 SECTION 3. SEVERABILITY. The provisions of this act are hereby declared
42 to be severable and if any provision of this act or the application of such
43 provision to any person or circumstance is declared invalid for any reason,
44 such declaration shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of
45 this act.
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
This legislation will require those engaging in the practice of
immigration assistance to register with the secretary of state.
It is the intent of this bill to prevent deceptive practices that
have caused many individuals seeking to follow U.S. immigration
policy to be misled or be given inadequate counsel. Placing
limits on the practice of immigration assistance and requiring
notification of the limits of this practice is intended to lead
to proper completion of immigration paperwork and reduce the rate
at which visas expire or paperwork is filed improperly. It is in
the interest of the state and in the interest of those seeking to
retain or achieve legal status that the realities and true
difficulties of achieving citizenship be properly represented and
that these individuals not be misled. Further, it is in the
interest of the state that the practice of immigration assistants
be distinguished from that of attorneys and immigration officials
who are qualified to provide counsel on United States immigration
policy. Once passed this legislation will reduce unlawful
practices and protect Idaho consumers and employers from
unscrupulous individuals posing as immigration consultants and
None. The Secretary of State's office says their IT department
can create the necessary form in a matter of minutes. Because
this legislation is intended to limit current deceptive
practices, the number of individuals actually registering under
this statute should be fewer than 50. The Secretary of State is
authorized to charge a fee to immigration assistants who do
register. This fee should more than cover any costs that may be
Name: Rep. Nicole LeFavour
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE/FISCAL NOTE H 790