To Kababayans who are undocumented immigrants or those who have been overstaying and working illegally in the United States, please beware. I know many of you have been experiencing sleepless nights worrying about deportation and having the Trump administration tear your families apart with the new guidelines.
However, know that there are unscrupulous people out there who want to make money out of your fear and uncertainties.
The bottom line is: When someone calls you, send you letters or visits you at home or at work, under the guise as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent, immigration officer or a federal agent, and harasses and warns you that they will deport you if you do not pay up, it is a SCAM!
As The Filipino Channel’s daily newscast “Balitang America” reported, there has been a rise in reports from various parts of the country about scammers victimizing immigrants as the Trump administration intensifies its crackdown on illegal immigration.
In New York, some immigrants have reportedly gotten calls from what appeared to look like a government number. The caller allegedly told these immigrants that they were determined to be undocumented immigrants and would have to pay $1,550 or they would be deported.
Authorities are also investigating a woman in Illinois posing as a “lawyer” who told immigrants they had pending immigration cases and reportedly demanded money for visa and tax help.
In South Carolina, authorities charged Michael Ruiz for reportedly scamming some immigrants by posing as a federal agent who asked to be paid $70,000.
These are but some of the reported cases of scamming. Authorities warn that there can be many other forms of modus operandi to deceive and trick and steal from immigrants. Just remember that ICE agents will NEVER ask immigrants for money or threaten with arrest and deportation unless they pay up.
If you live in the Greater Los Angeles area, seek the help and counsel of the Philippine Consulate there. The compassionate and efficient team of Consul General Adel Cruz is committed to assisting you.
If you are a Filipino in distress, you may call the consulate’s Assistance to Nationals hotline at (213) 587-0758 or send an email to LAPCG.ATN@gmail.com.
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos