No more notarios.
That's what will happen once Gov. Chris Gregoire signs a bill prohibiting people who aren't licensed to practice law from providing legal advice about immigration.
The bill is on its way to Gregoire now that the state House of Representatives and Senate have passed it.
Pasco immigration attorney Tom Roach said the change will help consumers, especially in Eastern Washington.
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Roach said he expects that the end to notarios will mean fewer people will face deportation because of poor advice.
In the past 15 years, he has seen cases in which the advice of notarios has led people to believe they could get green cards when they didn't qualify.
Unfortunately, some of the immigrants didn't find out that they didn't qualify until after they had applied, which meant they were put into the deportation process, he said.
State Attorney General Rob McKenna asked legislators to change state law, which had allowed nonattorneys who registered as an immigration assistant with the state to complete forms on someone's behalf.
But often those assistants, known in Spanish as notarios publicos, ended up providing legal advice, said McKenna's office.
The bill also would prevent them from representing themselves as a lawyer, notario publico, notario or any title that implies they are professionals with legal skills in immigration law.
They would not be able to select forms for a client or help answer forms.
In Mexico, a notario publico is an attorney, Roach said. But here, all it means is that someone is older than 18, a U.S. citizen, has paid a filing fee and has found 10 people willing to sign a form saying he or she is a moral person.