June 14, 2013
Pictured: Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., addresses residents and members of Manhattan’s East Side communities on immigration issues
On June 14, 2013, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., joined Assistant District Attorney Mayerling Rivera and representatives from the Office’s Community Affairs Unit to host a breakfast for members of Manhattan’s East Side communities. The event, which took place at Hunter College’s School of Social Work, brought together community members, local leaders, and representatives from religious organizations to discuss how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud in the wake of immigration reform. The event was co-hosted by the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights, The People’s Theatre Project, and Catholic Charities Community Services. More than 100 people attended the event.
“Within immigrant communities, one of the most common types of crime is fraud,” said District Attorney Vance. “On a daily basis, scam artists prey on the vulnerabilities of those seeking residency or citizenship. Education is the most important part of preventing those individuals from becoming victims and empowering them to protect themselves from scam artists and fraud.”
Regardless of immigration status, any individual who believes he or she may have been a victim of fraud is encouraged to call the Office’s Immigrant Affairs Program Hotline at 212-335-3600.
Pictured (l-r): Esdras Santana, Carla Robles, Yaqui Ramos & Carmen Barbosa, actors from the People’s Theatre Project; Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.; Mino Lora, Co-Executive Director of the People’s Theatre Project; Angela Fernandez, Executive Director of the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights; Assistant District Attorney Mayerling Rivera, Co-Director of the DA’s Immigrant Affairs Program; and Special Assistant District Attorney for Community Affairs Lee Llambelis.
The People’s Theatre Project also performed a skit to demonstrate the various ways in which scam artists try to take advantage of unsuspecting victims.
In April, the Office hosted a similar presentation for residents of Washington Heights to discuss recent changes in immigration policy that allow immediate relatives of U.S. citizens to apply for “Provisional Unlawful Presence Waivers.” The Immigrant Affairs Program organized the event to provide information about recognizing and avoiding common scams.
Among other tips, individuals were encouraged to:
- Make sure that all information on applications is true and correct.
- Do not sign blank documents or paperwork that have not been explained.
- Obtain a written contract detailing the fees and services to be provided.
- Make sure to get a written receipt for any funds paid. If possible, use money orders, which are a more secure way to pay for services.