Philadelphia, March 11, 2014 – Philadelphia City Council’s Public Safety Committee heard testimony from victims and advocates on Councilman At-Large Dennis O’Brien‘s bill that would establish a new licensing requirement, standards, protections and penalties to more effectively regulate immigration assistance services.
“Immigration assistance service providers have a duty and a responsibility to fully, properly and fairly serve their clients,” Councilman O’Brien said upon introduction of the bill. “Unfortunately, some providers who purport to serve immigrants are mostly out to serve themselves. Exploitative and fraudulent providers are known to leave immigrants in financial ruin and their families and businesses in disarray. Unqualified providers, regardless of intent, can do the same. Those who choose to live and work in Philadelphia out of all of the locations in the United States deserve our help and protection.”
The City of Philadelphia currently does not regulate immigration assistance services. The legislation crafted by Councilman O’Brien will ensure that people who seek assistance with immigration matters in Philadelphia will: 1) know the exact scope of the work performed by a service provider, 2) have assurances that the proper assistance is being provided and 3) have recourse if they are wronged by an assistance provider.
“There are many good providers who in serving immigrants well do a service to the City of Philadelphia,” Councilman O’Brien continued. “This legislation will promote ethical, fair and honest practices across the entirety of this service sector and will preserve public confidence while holding service providers accountable.”
Watch the hearing below: