Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Chicanx Latinx Law Review

Chicanx Latinx Law Review bannerUCLA

Combatting California's Notario Fraud


The state of California is home to the largest undocumented immigrant population in the United States (U.S.), housing one-fourth of our nation’s undocumented immigrants. Because of its unsurpassed undocumented immigrant population, California is a breeding ground for notario fraud, which is essentially the unauthorized practice of immigration law.

The long-awaited opportunity to effectively address notario fraud has arrived, as Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis co-authored a motion to create a licensing program for immigration consultants, which includes payment rates for service and penalties for violations. The motion was passed on September 13, 2016. Once in place, the licensing program and other regulations in this motion provide an opportunity for Los Angeles County—home to more undocumented individuals than any other area in California—to set an example for the rest of California, other states, and eventually the federal government as to what type of laws and enforcement task forces will most effectively combat notario fraud.

I argue that the attempt to combat notario fraud in California will only be effective if officials shift the burden from requiring victims to self-report notario fraud to requiring government agencies to proactively find perpetrators through a notario fraud task force and community and County involvement. Those perpetrators must then be prosecuted, subjected to license revocations, heavy fines, or even incarceration. Parts I through III of this article explain what notarios and notario fraud are, analyze why undocumented immigrants become notario fraud victims, and examine how California has attempted to combat notario fraud—but failed. Part IV examines how other states and cities have attempted to combat notario fraud, and the lessons that Los Angeles County can draw from those attempts. Part V explains Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis’ efforts to combat notario fraud, which are of great importance, as she is responsible for reigniting combatting efforts and providing a blue print on how to combat notario fraud. Lastly, in Part VI, I propose new ways for Los Angeles County and ultimately California to combat notario fraud.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View