The New York Daily News and The New York Times have both reported on fraudulent immigration lawyers and notaries in recent months. The story that appeared in the Daily News was considerably shorter and had a more news-you-can-use tone; it focused on a couple who mistook a scam website for the official USCIS site. It was a straightforward hard news piece that might have been more comprehensive had it described the ways in which the federal government is “trying to educate immigrants about the dangers of fraudsters and boost access to legitimate lawyers.”

The Times story vividly illustrated the treacherous reality immigrants face as they try to seek out legal representation. In doing so, the story exposed a number of immigration law offices as fraud profiting off illegal immigrants. What made the piece particularly effective was its description of more than three such fraudulent operations. While both stories included estimates of how many scams exist, there is no replacement for this sort of detail: “In 2004, Chicago collected $200,000 from Antonio Rodriguez Perez, a local notary who had taken money from clients without providing promised services, and wrote letters to each of his victims explaining how to receive recompense for damages.” The reader now knows what became of the victims of the scam, and the immigration lawyer who prosecuted the case is quoted below, placing the example in context. Overall, two effective stories with markedly different purposes.

—Marianna Nash

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