Home FloridaBulldog.org ‘Invisible’ Crime: Immigrant Scams Are Big Business In South Florida, But Few...

‘Invisible’ Crime: Immigrant Scams Are Big Business In South Florida, But Few Crooks Caught

Latin American agricultural workers in South Florida are among the victims of scammers who promise to obtain visa for them, charge large fees and fail to deliver. Photo: WeCount!

Infamous as the setting for many cases of high-profile financial fraud and chicanery, South Florida is also home to a relatively unknown scam that targets the region’s large immigrant population, bilking many of them for thousands of dollars for “expert” immigration services that are never delivered, a Florida Bulldog investigation has found.

The victims are mostly legal and undocumented immigrants from Latin America and Haiti, typically people with limited skills and little or no knowledge of English. Some immigrants from other parts of the world arriving in South Florida are also lured into these schemes. Moreover, even for highly educated immigrants, U.S. immigration laws and regulations are extremely complex and difficult to navigate.

The perpetrators, often people from the home country of their targets, are almost never arrested and punished since victims – especially those without legal documents – are worried about deportation and do not call the police.

“Immigration services scams are a serious national problem,” said Ana E. Santiago, the public affairs officer for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency (USCIS) in Miami. “They exploit the vulnerability of immigrants, refugees, foreign students and others, including U.S. citizens.” USCIS oversees lawful immigration to the U.S. and processes requests from immigrants once they are here.

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[vc_btn title=”Continue reading” style=”outline” color=”primary” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.floridabulldog.org%2F2017%2F06%2Finvisible-crime-immigrant-scams-are-big-business-in-south-florida-but-few-crooks-are-caught%2F|title:Continue%20reading|target:%20_blank|”][vc_message message_box_style=”3d” message_box_color=”blue”]By Joseph A. Mann Jr., FloridaBulldog.org, Special to SouthFloridaReporter.com, June 6, 2017[/vc_message]