Public Service Announcement October 12, 2005

This message comes to you from the Northern Indiana Immigration Service Providers and Advocates, a group of nonprofit organizations and local immigration attorneys that seeks to efficiently and effectively provide services to immigrants in Northern Indiana. The group includes La Casa of Goshen, Catholic Charities, the Notre Dame Immigration Clinic, Refugee and Immigration Services of South Bend, Indiana Legal Services, Rodolfo Monterrosa, Attorney at Law, and Michael Durham, Attorney at Law.

Recently many news sources have been reporting that the immigration laws of the United States have changed. Some have suggested Congress has passed a new amnesty. In some parts of the country, people claiming to be immigration experts have charged immigrants large sums of money to register for what they call a new amnesty. Currently, there has been no new amnesty and no significant changes in the immigration laws that will allow people who previously had no claim to immigration status to gain immigration benefits.

Congress is considering several pieces of legislation that might allow many people who currently have no legal immigration status to apply for immigration benefits. However, no new laws have passed. Congress is only considering proposals that could become law in the future. All people who think they might benefit from a change in the immigration laws should pay close attention to the news and wait for notice that the law has actually changed before attempting to apply for any new immigration benefit.

If the law changes, we recommend that immigrants seeking legal assistance use the services of a licensed attorney or an accredited representative. Please remember that in the United States, a notary public is not the equivalent of an attorney and has not received the legal training necessary to provide competent legal services.