Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB5945
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Full Text of HB5945  99th General Assembly




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1    AN ACT concerning business.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business
5Practices Act is amended by changing Section 2AA as follows:
6    (815 ILCS 505/2AA)
7    Sec. 2AA. Immigration services.
8    (a) "Immigration matter" means any proceeding, filing, or
9action affecting the nonimmigrant, immigrant or citizenship
10status of any person that arises under immigration and
11naturalization law, executive order or presidential
12proclamation of the United States or any foreign country, or
13that arises under action of the United States Citizenship and
14Immigration Services, the United States Department of Labor, or
15the United States Department of State.
16    "Immigration assistance service" means any information or
17action provided or offered to customers or prospective
18customers related to immigration matters, excluding legal
19advice, recommending a specific course of legal action, or
20providing any other assistance that requires legal analysis,
21legal judgment, or interpretation of the law.
22    "Compensation" means money, property, services, promise of
23payment, or anything else of value.



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1    "Employed by" means that a person is on the payroll of the
2employer and the employer deducts from the employee's paycheck
3social security and withholding taxes, or receives
4compensation from the employer on a commission basis or as an
5independent contractor.
6    "Reasonable costs" means actual costs or, if actual costs
7cannot be calculated, reasonably estimated costs of such things
8as photocopying, telephone calls, document requests, and
9filing fees for immigration forms, and other nominal costs
10incidental to assistance in an immigration matter.
11    (a-1) The General Assembly finds and declares that private
12individuals who assist persons with immigration matters have a
13significant impact on the ability of their clients to reside
14and work within the United States and to establish and maintain
15stable families and business relationships. The General
16Assembly further finds that that assistance and its impact also
17have a significant effect on the cultural, social, and economic
18life of the State of Illinois and thereby substantially affect
19the public interest. It is the intent of the General Assembly
20to establish rules of practice and conduct for those
21individuals to promote honesty and fair dealing with residents
22and to preserve public confidence.
23    (a-5) The following persons are exempt from this Section,
24provided they prove the exemption by a preponderance of the
26        (1) An attorney licensed to practice law in any state



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1    or territory of the United States, or of any foreign
2    country when authorized by the Illinois Supreme Court, to
3    the extent the attorney renders immigration assistance
4    service in the course of his or her practice as an
5    attorney.
6        (2) A legal intern, as described by the rules of the
7    Illinois Supreme Court, employed by and under the direct
8    supervision of a licensed attorney and rendering
9    immigration assistance service in the course of the
10    intern's employment.
11        (3) A not-for-profit organization recognized by the
12    Board of Immigration Appeals under 8 C.F.R. 292.2(a) and
13    employees of those organizations accredited under 8 C.F.R.
14    292.2(d).
15        (4) Any organization employing or desiring to employ a
16    documented or undocumented immigrant an alien or
17    nonimmigrant alien, where the organization, its employees
18    or its agents provide advice or assistance in immigration
19    matters to documented or undocumented immigrant alien or
20    nonimmigrant alien employees or potential employees
21    without compensation from the individuals to whom such
22    advice or assistance is provided.
23    Nothing in this Section shall regulate any business to the
24extent that such regulation is prohibited or preempted by State
25or federal law.
26    All other persons providing or offering to provide



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1immigration assistance service shall be subject to this
3    (b) Any person who provides or offers to provide
4immigration assistance service may perform only the following
6        (1) Completing a government agency form, requested by
7    the customer and appropriate to the customer's needs, only
8    if the completion of that form does not involve a legal
9    judgment for that particular matter.
10        (2) Transcribing responses to a government agency form
11    which is related to an immigration matter, but not advising
12    a customer as to his or her answers on those forms.
13        (3) Translating information on forms to a customer and
14    translating the customer's answers to questions posed on
15    those forms.
16        (4) Securing for the customer supporting documents
17    currently in existence, such as birth and marriage
18    certificates, which may be needed to be submitted with
19    government agency forms.
20        (5) Translating documents from a foreign language into
21    English.
22        (6) Notarizing signatures on government agency forms,
23    if the person performing the service is a notary public of
24    the State of Illinois.
25        (7) Making referrals, without fee, to attorneys who
26    could undertake legal representation for a person in an



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1    immigration matter.
2        (8) Preparing or arranging for the preparation of
3    photographs and fingerprints.
4        (9) Arranging for the performance of medical testing
5    (including X-rays and AIDS tests) and the obtaining of
6    reports of such test results.
7        (10) Conducting English language and civics courses.
8        (11) Other services that the Attorney General
9    determines by rule may be appropriately performed by such
10    persons in light of the purposes of this Section.
11    Fees for a notary public, agency, or any other person who
12is not an attorney or an accredited representative filling out
13immigration forms shall be limited to the maximum fees set
14forth in subsections (a) and (b) of Section 3-104 of the Notary
15Public Act (5 ILCS 312/3-104). The maximum fee schedule set
16forth in subsections (a) and (b) of Section 3-104 of the Notary
17Public Act shall apply to any person that provides or offers to
18provide immigration assistance service performing the services
19described therein. The Attorney General may promulgate rules
20establishing maximum fees that may be charged for any services
21not described in that subsection. The maximum fees must be
22reasonable in light of the costs of providing those services
23and the degree of professional skill required to provide the
25    No person subject to this Act shall charge fees directly or
26indirectly for referring an individual to an attorney or for



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1any immigration matter not authorized by this Article, provided
2that a person may charge a fee for notarizing documents as
3permitted by the Illinois Notary Public Act.
4    (c) Any person performing such services shall register with
5the Illinois Attorney General and submit verification of
6malpractice insurance or of a surety bond.
7    (d) Except as provided otherwise in this subsection, before
8providing any assistance in an immigration matter a person
9shall provide the customer with a written contract that
10includes the following:
11        (1) An explanation of the services to be performed.
12        (2) Identification of all compensation and costs to be
13    charged to the customer for the services to be performed.
14        (3) A statement that documents submitted in support of
15    an application for nonimmigrant, immigrant, or
16    naturalization status may not be retained by the person for
17    any purpose, including payment of compensation or costs.
18    This subsection does not apply to a not-for-profit
19organization that provides advice or assistance in immigration
20matters to clients without charge beyond a reasonable fee to
21reimburse the organization's or clinic's reasonable costs
22relating to providing immigration services to that client.
23    (e) Any person who provides or offers immigration
24assistance service and is not exempted from this Section, shall
25post signs at his or her place of business, setting forth
26information in English and in every other language in which the



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1person provides or offers to provide immigration assistance
2service. Each language shall be on a separate sign. Signs shall
3be posted in a location where the signs will be visible to
4customers. Each sign shall be at least 11 inches by 17 inches,
5and shall contain the following:
6        (1) The statement "I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO
9        (2) The statement "I AM NOT ACCREDITED TO REPRESENT YOU
12        (3) The fee schedule.
13        (4) The statement that "You may cancel any contract
14    within 3 working days and get your money back for services
15    not performed."
16        (5) Additional information the Attorney General may
17    require by rule.
18    Every person engaged in immigration assistance service who
19is not an attorney who advertises immigration assistance
20service in a language other than English, whether by radio,
21television, signs, pamphlets, newspapers, or other written
22communication, with the exception of a single desk plaque,
23shall include in the document, advertisement, stationery,
24letterhead, business card, or other comparable written
25material the following notice in English and the language in
26which the written communication appears. This notice shall be



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1of a conspicuous size, if in writing, and shall state: "I AM
4advertisement is by radio or television, the statement may be
5modified but must include substantially the same message.
6    Any person who provides or offers immigration assistance
7service and is not exempted from this Section shall not, in any
8document, advertisement, stationery, letterhead, business
9card, or other comparable written material, literally
10translate from English into another language terms or titles
11including, but not limited to, notary public, notary, licensed,
12attorney, lawyer, or any other term that implies the person is
13an attorney. To illustrate, the words "notario" and "poder
14notarial" are prohibited under this provision.
15    If not subject to penalties under subsection (a) of Section
163-103 of the Notary Public Act (5 ILCS 312/3-103), violations
17of this subsection shall result in a fine of $1,000. Violations
18shall not preempt or preclude additional appropriate civil or
19criminal penalties.
20    (f) The written contract shall be in both English and in
21the language of the customer.
22    (g) A copy of the contract shall be provided to the
23customer upon the customer's execution of the contract.
24    (h) A customer has the right to rescind a contract within
2572 hours after his or her signing of the contract.
26    (i) Any documents identified in paragraph (3) of subsection



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1(c) shall be returned upon demand of the customer.
2    (j) No person engaged in providing immigration services who
3is not exempted under this Section shall do any of the
5        (1) Make any statement that the person can or will
6    obtain special favors from or has special influence with
7    the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service
8    or any other government agency.
9        (2) Retain any compensation for service not performed.
10        (2.5) Accept payment in exchange for providing legal
11    advice or any other assistance that requires legal
12    analysis, legal judgment, or interpretation of the law.
13        (3) Refuse to return documents supplied by, prepared on
14    behalf of, or paid for by the customer upon the request of
15    the customer. These documents must be returned upon request
16    even if there is a fee dispute between the immigration
17    assistant and the customer.
18        (4) Represent or advertise, in connection with the
19    provision assistance in immigration matters, other titles
20    of credentials, including but not limited to "notary
21    public" or "immigration consultant," that could cause a
22    customer to believe that the person possesses special
23    professional skills or is authorized to provide advice on
24    an immigration matter; provided that a notary public
25    appointed by the Illinois Secretary of State may use the
26    term "notary public" if the use is accompanied by the



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1    statement that the person is not an attorney; the term
2    "notary public" may not be translated to another language;
3    for example "notario" is prohibited.
4        (5) Provide legal advice, recommend a specific course
5    of legal action, or provide any other assistance that
6    requires legal analysis, legal judgment, or interpretation
7    of the law.
8        (6) Make any misrepresentation of false statement,
9    directly or indirectly, to influence, persuade, or induce
10    patronage.
11    (k) (Blank)
12    (l) (Blank)
13    (m) Any person who violates any provision of this Section,
14or the rules and regulations issued under this Section, shall
15be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a
16Class 3 felony for a second or subsequent offense committed
17within 5 years of a previous conviction for the same offense.
18    Upon his own information or upon the complaint of any
19person, the Attorney General or any State's Attorney, or a
20municipality with a population of more than 1,000,000, may
21maintain an action for injunctive relief and also seek a civil
22penalty not exceeding $50,000 in the circuit court against any
23person who violates any provision of this Section. These
24remedies are in addition to, and not in substitution for, other
25available remedies.
26    If the Attorney General or any State's Attorney or a



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1municipality with a population of more than 1,000,000 fails to
2bring an action as provided under this Section any person may
3file a civil action to enforce the provisions of this Article
4and maintain an action for injunctive relief, for compensatory
5damages to recover prohibited fees, or for such additional
6relief as may be appropriate to deter, prevent, or compensate
7for the violation. In order to deter violations of this
8Section, courts shall not require a showing of the traditional
9elements for equitable relief. A prevailing plaintiff may be
10awarded 3 times the prohibited fees or a minimum of $1,000 in
11punitive damages, attorney's fees, and costs of bringing an
12action under this Section. It is the express intention of the
13General Assembly that remedies for violation of this Section be
15    (n) No unit of local government, including any home rule
16unit, shall have the authority to regulate immigration
17assistance services unless such regulations are at least as
18stringent as those contained in this amendatory Act of 1992. It
19is declared to be the law of this State, pursuant to paragraph
20(i) of Section 6 of Article VII of the Illinois Constitution of
211970, that this amendatory Act of 1992 is a limitation on the
22authority of a home rule unit to exercise powers concurrently
23with the State. The limitations of this Section do not apply to
24a home rule unit that has, prior to the effective date of this
25amendatory Act, adopted an ordinance regulating immigration
26assistance services.



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1    (o) This Section is severable under Section 1.31 of the
2Statute on Statutes.
3    (p) The Attorney General shall issue rules not inconsistent
4with this Section for the implementation, administration, and
5enforcement of this Section. The rules may provide for the
7        (1) The content, print size, and print style of the
8    signs required under subsection (e). Print sizes and styles
9    may vary from language to language.
10        (2) Standard forms for use in the administration of
11    this Section.
12        (3) Any additional requirements deemed necessary.
13(Source: P.A. 93-1001, eff. 8-23-04; 94-238, eff. 7-14-05.)