According to their website, H&R Block is becoming a one-stop-shop. You can now file taxes and resolve immigration issues in one visit. Maybe in the future they will start providing medical services too.
H&R Block started a new office concept called Taxes and Multiservicios, which aims to “meet the demand for certain services of interest to the Latino community, beyond just filing taxes.” According to their website, H&R Block partnered with the company called FileRight, which provides immigrants with information, resources, and tools to independently choose and complete their immigration applications such as the Application for Citizenship or the Replacement of Permanent Resident Cards and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Of course, the website states that FileRight is not a law firm and the “service does not provide migratory service advice.”
But let’s get real for a minute. If I am going to H&R Block to do my taxes, I am going to ask questions (regarding taxes) and a representative will provide me with answers. Now, if I am an immigrant who is looking to file required documents for DACA and H&R Block provides this service for me (while I’m getting my taxes done – because why not?). I am going to ask questions or at least have the representative evaluate my situation to see if I am eligible for the program.
Now let’s discuss this from a financial point of view. According to the website, this immigration service is very affordable (I believe it’s $250 but I could be wrong). Whatever the amount is, I’m sure their selling point is that it is cheaper than an immigration attorney’s fee. They provide you with the “Do It Yourself” tools to resolve your own immigration issues. Great!
You pay the fee, fill out the suggested FileRight forms, and file them with the USCIS. Then something goes wrong. Maybe you forgot to mention your arrest five years ago, or maybe you made a clerical error. Whatever the reason is, your petition is denied and now you are in a removal proceeding, threatened with the possibility of getting deported. Will the representatives from H&R Block be marching into the Immigration Court to defend you? Technically they cannot since they aren’t lawyers. Do you try to represent yourself to save some money? Probably not, since your life and liberty depends on this. You will have to hire an immigration attorney to represent you and you will be paying attorney fees.
There are certain immigration attorneys who charge outrageously high attorney fees, but there are also many organizations, associations, and law firms that work with people with low income. Immigration law is complex and every situation is different. There are no cookie-cutter immigration issues that can be resolved by a simple pamphlet containing some information.
You would never seek medical advice from a construction company – you would go to a doctor who has knowledge and expertise to treat you. Why would you seek advice regarding your immigration issue from a company who specializes in taxes?