LITTLE ROCK – State Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s office sued two Northwest Arkansas businesses Thursday, alleging they advertised assistance they could not legally provide to those seeking immigration help.
The lawsuits, filed in Washington County Circuit Court, claimed GYS Investments LLC and Sonia’s Tax Services, both of Springdale, offered to process applications for permanent residency under a federal law that does not exist. The two businesses say they can provide the help under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act). However, the so-called DREAM Act is not an act of Congress and carries no legal weight or authority, according to to the lawsuit.
The legislation, as proposed in Congress but never enacted, would offer a path to permanent residency for immigrants who entered the United States during their youth.
“The defendants in these cases are offering help where none can legally exist,” McDaniel said in a news release. “Through their deceptive actions, these businesses could actually make matters much worse for young people seeking to obtain permanent residency status.”
Randy Ponce, owner of Sonia’s Tax Services, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Thursday. No one answered a call to a telephone listing for GYS Investments in Springdale.
McDaniel said the federal government recommends that anyone seeking immigration assistance should seek help from only those qualified, such as an attorney or someone accredited by the federal Board of Immigration Appeals.
The lawsuits state that the actions of GYS investments and Sonia’s Tax Services are deceitful, at best. At worst, they could lead to deportation proceedings or criminal charges against those whom they wrongfully promise to help, according to the pleading.
McDaniel asked the court to prohibit GYS and Sonia’s Tax Services from advertising, providing or charging for immigration services in Arkansas, assess civil penalties and order the businesses to pay restitution to affected consumers.