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Bill to regulate 'immigration consultants' passes Senate

Published: Friday, March 2 2012 6:51 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate on Friday overwhelmingly passed SB144, a bill to regulate non-attorney "immigration consultants."

Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake, said she introduced the legislation to address fraud and that risk of identity fraud at the hands of unscrupulous "immigration consultants" hired by refugees, undocumented Utahns as well as legal residents to help them fill out immigration papers.

Immigration consultants will be required to register with the state Division of Consumer Protection, undergo criminal background checks and post bonds. It also creates a complaint process for people who have been defrauded.

Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Lehi, said there is a definite need to regulate these businesses, some of which abet lawbreaking by helping illegal immigrants open bank accounts.

"I think we'll catch some of these bad actors and there are many of them," he said.

The bill, approved for final passage in the Senate on a vote of 21-3, now moves to the House for further consideration.

Marjorie Cortez

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