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Sunday, June 20, 2004

Welcome to AJC! - Michigan to Regulate Immigrant Services

Welcome to AJC!

Michigan to Regulate Immigrant Services

DETROIT (AP)--Michigan's governor on Friday signed legislation to protect immigrants from exploitation when they seek help to obtain permanent residency, citizenship or jobs.

The law requires immigrant service providers to register with the state, post a $50,000 bond and sign a written contract in English and the client's native language before services are provided or payment accepted. It also caps the fees charged for translation or completing paperwork.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed the Michigan Immigration Clerical Act at a community center in southwest Detroit, home to the city's largest concentration of Latinos.

``This legislation says to every immigrant, `You are ours,''' said Granholm, herself a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Canada.

State Rep. Steve Tobocman, who co-sponsored the measure, said language barriers and lack of knowledge of U.S. laws and customs make immigrants vulnerable.

He cited cases in which people promised to obtain permanent residency or citizenship status for immigrants for a fee, then disappeared with the money.


AP-NY-06-18-04 2252EDT

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