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Arizona Bill Aims To Protect Immigrants From Notario Fraud

A bill is moving through the state Legislature that’s aiming to protect immigrants living in Arizona from notario fraud.

Notarios in the U.S. are notary publics who are authorized to do things like certify contracts and other documents. But in Spanish, notarios are trusted government-appointed attorneys who handle legal cases.

There are bad actors who take advantage of that translation and market themselves to the Spanish-speaking community as attorneys.

I spoke with state Sen. Martin Quezada more about this. He’s the sponsor of this bill, and I asked him how notario fraud can affect those in the immigrant community here.

Now, not everybody in the immigrant community, though, is happy about this bill. I also spoke with Carlos Garcia, executive director of the immigrants’ rights group Puente about this. His group, along with a few others, oppose this bill.

He says this is a problem they saw four or five years ago, but he doesn’t think it’s where lawmakers need to be focusing today. In fact, he says, they see more issues with actual attorneys hurting people’s immigration cases than with notarios.

This bill, SB 1421, passed the Senate and now goes to the House for a vote.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.