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The steel wall at the border that separates Nogales, Sonora, Mexico from Nogales, Ariz. - 


Bob Moon: Congress is having a tough time passing immigration reform. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is hoping to get negotiations jumpstarted in time for a final vote next week. Now, scam artists are taking advantage of the confusion all this has caused among illegal immigrants. From the Americas Desk at WLRN, Marketplace's Dan Grech reports.

Dan Grech: The scam artists are called notarios — Spanish for notary public. Across the country, reports have emerged of notarios collecting $5,000 fines from undocumented immigrants.

The money will put them on a path toward citizenship under the new immigration law. Only problem: there is no new immigration law.

Cheryl Little directs the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center:

Cheryl Little: Immigrants are so vulnerable, because they're desperate to legalize their status, they're so easily taken advantage of. And it's especially so because many immigrants come from countries where notarios are lawyers.

She says the victims can ill afford to lose the money.

Little: Not only are they taking their hard-earned money and throwing it away, but they're alerting immigration officials to, you know . . . here I am, you can come and pick me up and deport me.

She says notarios are hard to prosecute, because they're cheating people who are here illegally.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.