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Virginia House passes immigration legal protection

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It looks like Republicans in Richmond are bucking the national trend and supporting a pro-immigrant agenda. Now the question is how will Latino voters respond.

A bill passed the Virginia House Feb. 7 the proposal would prohibit a notary public who is not a federally accredited immigration representative from offering or providing advice on any immigration matter. The bill also prohibits a notary from assuming, using, or advertising the title of notario, notario publico, or licenciado, unless the notary public is licensed to practice law in Virginia.

A notary’s first violation would result in a $500 fine and the second $1,000. Multiple violations could result in revocation of commission.

HB 492 was introduced by Del. David Albo (R-Springfield). Question: Why single out immigration? If the aim is to keep anyone other than an attorney from providing legal advice in immigration cases, why not just say so? If the law already prohibits anyone except lawyers from giving legal advice, why not enforce it?

Special law for special cases mean special problems in the long run. For example, will prohibiting professionals from advertising in Spanish become a First Amendment issue? The measure appears to be intended, but state laws should benefit all not just a few.

A similar bill has not been offered in the Senate. If a proposal is made, lawmakers would be wise to cover all laws, not just the issue du jour. An English only law would clear this up.



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