BROWNSVILLE, Texas (CN) – A federal class action claims an immigration attorney cheats clients by selling a bogus “R.O.I.” program, which “purports” to be “an insurance program” and a “prepaid legal services program.” His clients say Manuel Solis, whose office is in Harlingen, has charged “hundreds, if not thousands” of Spanish-speakers for the essentially worthless program, which they believe, falsely, will protect them from deportation.
The class accuses Solis of deceptive trade. Clients say they are charged from $360 to $600 for the R.O.I. contract that guarantees them legal representation if they are detained, and a document that tells border agents they have an attorney. Although this type of form, called an amparo letter, has a legal purpose in Latin American countries, the letters Solis issues are useless, the class claims.
They say Solis’ office then encourages clients to buy other services, such as freedom of information requests (for $300), and records management assistance.
“Some of the other services are also not real services, e.g. retyping a physician’s letter to Border Patrol to allow free passage at the checkpoint for medical care onto law firm letterhead and rewording it so it is from the law office – $250,” the complaint states. “This letter also has a purpose that is counter to the R.O.I. program. The letter offers free passage at the immigration checkpoint to accompany a sick child to see a medical specialist, R.O.I. offers hope that they will be detained by CBP so they may obtain their legal permanent residency through Cancellation of Removal in immigration court …
“Clients are signed up for ROI even if they have a prior deportation, or other type of removal. The client’s immigration status is not evaluated to find a solution to the immigrant’s current immigration problem. Many immigrants are being placed at risk because they believe that they are being protected from removal with the R.O.I. program. The immigration bar has been queried by potential clients, as to whether they do the R.O.I. program, or not, many consumers believe it is a new immigration benefit …
“Hundreds, if not thousands, of undocumented Spanish speaking immigrants most who are undereducated, of low economic status, and have signed up for the R.O.I. program. The class claims are common in that individuals paid for legal services in the form of R.O.I. and their individual cases have not been thoroughly reviewed for current forms of relief available to them, if any, and they believe they are protected by R.O.I.”
The class seeks legal counsel to review their immigration cases, an injunction prohibiting Solis from charging for an amparo letter, plus damages and costs. They are represented by Marlene Dougherty.