The Fight against Notarios and Other Fraudulent Practices

Notario Fraud pic

Notario Fraud

San Diego-based immigration attorney Christopher Stender is a longtime member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and a former vice president of the Arizona chapter of the organization. In addition to his work as an immigration attorney, Christopher Stender is a member of the AILA Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, in which role he advises the association on strategies to deal with the growing problem of persons fraudulently claiming to be immigration lawyers taking advantage of vulnerable immigrant communities. These individuals often refer to themselves as “Notarios.”

In order to combat this fraud, AILA collaborated with the American Bar Association to create, a website that aims to protect new immigrants by providing a comprehensive source of information. The site outlines ways in which individuals might determine whether their representative is fraudulent and emphasizes the right to ask for accreditation. Secondly, the site informs new immigrants of the potential consequences of representation by an unqualified person. These include being deported and permanently banned from the United States. Furthermore, the website directs people to report fraud to the relevant authorities.

In addition to, AILA is collaborating with the American Bar Association to provide pro bono legal assistance to the victims of notarios. This program hopes to reverse some of the damage caused by notarios and ensure an end to the damaging and criminal practice of defrauding new immigrants.


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About Christopher Stender

After working for three years as Assistant Chief Counsel for the San Diego District of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, Christopher Stender launched a law partnership in 1993. Initially known as Stender & Larkin, the firm was renamed Stender & Associates, PC. Christopher Stender and his team of bilingual associates provide comprehensive immigration-related legal services, working with individuals held at Arizona’s detention centers and prisons in Eloy and Florence, as well as at California’s detention centers in El Centro, San Diego, and San Pedro. Christopher Stender assists in bond procurement and payment, visitation and hearing scheduling, and detainee transportation. He is known for taking tough cases, promoting novel legal theories, and getting positive results for his clients. He routinely appears before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as the First, Fifth, and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. Prospective clients can read about the immigration process in both English and Spanish on his website. Christopher Stender spent his undergraduate years at the University of Würzburg, Germany, and the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He earned his Juris Doctor in 1990 from the Syracuse University College of Law. An East Coast native who lived abroad for two years, Christopher Stender has traveled extensively throughout Europe. In addition to his native English, he speaks German and Spanish. He supports Grace Point Church, Homeless Outreach, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, Tijuana Schools Mission, and Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project. He lives with his wife and four children in San Diego.

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