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Syracuse University College of Law – Burton Blatt Institute

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Syracuse University College of Law

Before beginning a career as an immigration attorney, Christopher Stender attended the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, New York, where he majored in history and English and earned a bachelor of arts. Immigration attorney Christopher Stender subsequently attended Syracuse University School of Law in Syracuse, New York, where he earned a law degree.

The Syracuse University College of Law features several different research centers to help law students further their studies. One such is the Burton Blatt Institute. Burton Blatt was a leader in helping to provide educational opportunities and advancements for those diagnosed with developmental disabilities. He led the way in creating family support services and community living programs for people with disabilities.

The Burton Blatt Institute has been commissioned by the American Bar Association to conduct a study regarding biases encountered by lawyers who are disabled, as well as individuals working in the legal profession who identify as LGBT. The study aims to determine strategies that can be implemented to overcome any issues identified.


Who is Vulnerable to Notario Fraud and What are Some Solutions

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Notario Fraud

Christopher Stender is an immigration attorney with more than two decades of experience practicing immigration law. An active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), he served as the vice president of the organization’s Arizona chapter. Currently, Christopher Stender serves on the AILA Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee. There, he develops strategies to combat the rising problem of so-called notarios, persons fraudulently claiming to be immigration attorneys.

Immigrants originating from Latin America are particularly vulnerable to notario fraud because in many Latin American countries, a notario has authority over a number of legal matters. In the United States, however, a notario is simply a notary public rather than a licensed and trained attorney. Notarios regularly defraud immigrants and noncitizens of thousands of dollars, promising documentation, work permits, and other immigration services that never materialize. Furthermore, using a ‘notario’ may result in a person permanently losing official documents and access to certain benefits. If they misfile their case as an asylum claim, they may trigger deportation proceedings.

Many states have taken actions to prevent notario fraud, requiring notaries to undergo background checks, place security bonds, and post disclaimers on their advertisements. Furthermore, notario fraud is a misdemeanor in many states and a felony in Arizona. And in Washington, D.C., payment for immigration services can only occur after the service has been rendered.

What is Moral Turpitude?

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Immigration Attorney

Attorney Christopher Stender is an experienced lawyer with numerous published appeals to the Board of Immigration. An avid volunteer for his church, Christopher Stender has spent most of his nearly 20 years of experience as an attorney focusing on immigration-related cases, such as the Marmelejo-Campos v. Mukasey case.

The case of Marmelejo-Campos v. Mukasey, which was decided March 14, 2008, was an appeal to rehear the original case of Marmelejo-Campos v. Gonzales. The case was heard in the Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals, and a three-judge panel ordered that the original case be reheard. The original case was based on the question of whether driving while intoxicated, without a license, is a crime of moral turpitude.

Moral turpitude generally refers to a violation of moral conduct, including acts that violate a person’s duty to others in society. In addition to being a vile and depraved act, crimes of moral turpitude are intentionally evil in nature. These crimes can invalidate an application for a visa or a green card, as well as cause an immigrant who already has either to become deportable.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association

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American Immigration Lawyers Association

Christopher Stender is an immigration attorney licensed in the states of New York and Connecticut. Able to practice immigration law in all 50 states, he is also admitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Christopher Stender is a member of a number of professional legal associations, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

AILA has more than 14,000 attorneys and law professors engaged in practicing and teaching immigration law. AILA is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization that helps immigration attorneys by providing legal updates, continuing legal education, and professional services through its chapters and national committees.

The goals of AILA are many, starting with advocating for immigration laws and policies that are fair and reasonable before Congress, the courts, federal agencies, and the media. AILA also educates the public about the importance of uniting American families who may be separated by legal issues, protecting refugees who have fled dangerous situations in their home countries, and making it possible for United States employers to hire people from abroad with specific skills they need to compete globally.

AILA goals also encompass helping lawyers to achieve the best possible legal services for their clients by increasing attorneys’ knowledge and professionalism. It also facilitates and encourages its members to participate in pro bono programs to help those clients who don’t have the resources to pursue their cases.

Subjectivity of the Phrase “Moral Turpitude” Helps Win a Case

Licensed to practice law in New York and Connecticut, attorney Christopher Stender handles cases related to immigration. Attorney Christopher Stender has appeared in front of the Board of Immigration Appeals and the US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, where he represented Armando Marmolejo-Campos in his case against the attorney general.

Also known as Campos Ramos Armando, Mr. Marmolejo-Campos filed a petition to appeal a decision of his removal from the United States following multiple violations of the driving under the influence (DUI) law. A native and citizen of Mexico, Mr. Marmolejo-Campos entered the United States without an inspection in 1983 and later gained lawful permanent resident status in 2001. However, during the span of less than 10 years, he committed both crimes, one of which involved driving with a suspended or revoked license knowingly. Based on the timeframe, charges, and citizenship status, he faced deportation for crimes involving moral turpitude.

Mr. Marmolejo-Campos and his attorney Mr. Stender convinced the judge overseeing the proceeding to remand the Board of Immigration Appeals’ decision and dissent. The case aiding in their argument was Lopez-Meza v. The Board. It indicated variances of how the phrase “moral turpitude” is interpreted. Because no exact explanation that can eliminate subjectivity is given, Mr. Marmolejo-Campos achieved a favorable outcome.

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.

Pro Bono Program Provides Legal Aid in Immigration Proceedings

A Southern California immigration attorney with more than 15 years of experience, Christopher Stender represents individuals appearing before US Immigration Court. Aside from his responsibilities as an immigration attorney, Christopher Stender has donated to the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (FIRRP), an organization that provides legal aid to individuals detained in Arizona by the Department of Homeland Security.

One major component of FIRRP’s work is its pro bono program, in which attorneys represent immigrants who have been detained and are facing removal. FIRRP recruits and provides training and mentoring to participating attorneys, who present citizenship, political asylum, refugee and other claims before a range of judges, boards, courts. In some cases, FIRRP also draws on the expertise of participating criminal law attorneys to aid with post-conviction relief. Through the pro bono program, FIRRP seeks to improve representation of detainees in immigration law proceedings. To learn more about the legal service organization and its pro bono program, please visit