Report: Ads by attorneys on TikTok advise illegal aliens, criminals on how to game the immigration system

A new trend has emerged on the social media platform TikTok where self-professed immigration attorneys or experts claim they can help illegal immigrants obtain legal residency in the United States, even if their cases have been deemed unwinnable by other immigration attorneys.

But when taking a closer look at these sort of trending videos making these claims, what one comes to find is that this seems to be a blatant attempt to capitalize on naivety bred by desperation by way of misrepresenting certain aspects of immigration law that relate to a particular classification of visas.

When it comes to social media, every imaginable profession out there has some sort of pool of self-aggrandizing field “experts” that share and often bolster their credibility through the platform to would-be content consumers.

Anyone who has been on any platform like Facebook, YouTube or LinkedIn has seen some kind of subject matter expert peddling the miracle remedy to all your ailments.

As such, it is with little surprise that there is a dedicated community of immigration attorneys or immigration experts that seemed to be engaged in the business of hopes and dreams for potential clients that have been previously told they have immigration cases that just cannot be won.

@su_abogada##abogada ##inmigracion ##immigration ##español ##arreglarsinsalir ##permisodetrabajo ##immigrationlawyer ##sehablaespañol ##fyp ##parati ##foryou ##viral♬ Stranger – CHUNNYT

Which brings us to the strange world of TikTok immigration attorneys that are proclaiming that they can win the unwinnable, often using the hashtag “#arreglarsinsalir,” which translates to “fix without leaving” in English.

The reason said hashtag is being used is because it’s seemingly being marketed toward individuals already in the United States that are unlawfully present for any number of reasons; and these videos are somehow touting a miracle that they can make it so clients can fix their immigration status without leaving the country. 

Those are some pretty bold claims.

When looking at some of these videos, they typically consist of the same tropes like trendy mariachi or reggaetón music playing with one of these immigration attorneys dancing around and flashing documents like work permits.

Once you see some of the keywords shared in these TikTok videos it becomes all the more clear, at least for those that are immigration law savvy, what these attorneys are trying to contort: The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA.

@abogadaangela¡Estamos ganando para nuestros clientes! ☎️615-454-2502 ##win##gana##inmigranteslatinos ##abogadaangela ##arreglarsinsalir ##hispanic ##permisodetrabajo♬ No Drama – Becky G & Ozuna

When you go and search the hashtag “#arreglarsinsalir” on TikTok, a cornucopia of these videos come up asking about whether someone may be in an unhealthy or toxic relationship, or if they’re generally unhappy in their relationship in the U.S. while unlawfully present.

At least some of these videos are a little bit more candid and specifically ask whether would-be clients are the victims of domestic violence while being unlawfully present in the United States.

But the whole trend of “fix without leaving” appears to be predicated on VAWA.

@abogadaalonsoLlámenos para ver si califica 1-855-663-4763 tomando casos de tu estado también. ##latinos ##toxica ##mexico ##parati ##universalstudios ##fyp ##univision♬ original sound – Alonso&Alonso

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The American Immigration Council does a splendid job of explaining the legal nuance around the parameters of what the VAWA covers in terms of noncitizens present within the country that can obtain legal statuses without having to actually leave the country:

“The Immigration Reform Act of 1990 created the ‘battered spouse waiver,’ which allows victims of domestic violence who obtained conditional permanent residency based on their marriage to a U.S. citizen to file an application to remove that conditionality without the assistance of their spouse if they are in an abusive relationship.

“The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 1994 included provisions to allow noncitizen victims of domestic violence to obtain immigration relief independent of their abusive spouse or parent through a process called ‘self-petitioning.’

“The Battered Immigrant Women Protection Act of 2000 (VAWA 2000) created new forms of immigration relief for noncitizen victims of violent crime (“U” visas) and victims of sexual assault or trafficking (“T” visas). Finally, the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 expanded these protections and included some victims of elder abuse.”

Anyone who has already had a consultation with an immigration attorney and described their circumstances for their presented case would already know whether or not if they would fall under any of the aforementioned circumstances.

When taking that into consideration, these sort of advertising practices are concerning.

Immigration attorneys advertising in said fashion on TikTok could very well be trying to either get consultation fees from dead-on -arrival cases or they may very well be looking to coach potential clients into engaging in misleading immigration filings.

No matter how you paint the scenario of this strange method of legal services advertising regarding immigration matters, it generally seems sketchy and potentially exploitative.

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Author: Gregory Hoyt

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