Midland man on brink of deportation after relying on advice from an ‘notario‘: Manuel Rios interviewed
March 7, 2015
By Alexis Krell
“I think that, but for our intervention and the cooperation of (the federal Department of Homeland Security) to help these people who were victimized, that yes, he would have faced definite deportation,” said Chavez’s attorney, Manuel Rios.
Chavez’s wife and three minor children have legal permanent residency in the United States, and the 41-year-old Midland man hoped several years ago that the Lakewood company, E.C. New Horizons, could help him get the same.
“He’s just a guy that’s trying to be with his family,” Rios said.
Now Chavez is trying to avoid deportation to Mexico, and recently settled a lawsuit against New Horizons, which allegedly prepared his paperwork and gave him unauthorized legal advice.
Chavez’s case for legal permanent residency was complicated to begin with because of two prior deportations, and the actions of New Horizons had him dangerously close to being sent back to Mexico, Rios said.
No one answered the phone when The News Tribune called the company several times last week, and no one answered the door when a reporter stopped by Thursday.
According to Chavez’s lawsuit:
The business is registered with the state Department of Revenue under the name of Edwin Cruz as a portrait photography studio and under the name Mauricio Terry as an administrative management consulting service.
A Better Business Bureau accreditation sign was in the window of the office at one point, though E.C. New Horizons is not accredited by the BBB.
An online ad on the Lakewood-JBLM Patch website used a statement from Terry, saying the business provides “consultation services for immigrants who are looking to start the process of gaining permanent residency, citizenship or a Work Authorization Document.”
The ad also said: “Rather than attorney fees, we provide the extra service.”
In 2011, Cruz and Terry were accused of misleading advertising and agreeing to give legal advice and prepare immigration-related documents for customers. They settled with the state Attorney General’s Office for $2,000 in civil penalties and $6,000 in attorney fees and legal costs.