State poised to regulate ‘immigration consultants’

SALT LAKE CITY — So-called consultants who prey on immigrants and refugees may soon be under state regulation.

Utah lawmakers passed SB144 says those who provide services to immigrants including filling out forms, tax preparation and translation must register with the state Department of Commerce. They also would have to undergo a criminal background check and post bonds.

“Let’s have (immigrants) who are doing it the right way not get messed over,” said Rep. Jen Seelig, D-Salt Lake.

The influx of immigrants into the state has given rise to an unregulated cottage industry that is rife with fraud and predatory practices, said Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden.

The bill, he said, attempts to legitimize the business.

SB144 now goes to governor for consideration.

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