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LITTLE ROCK - Attorney General Dustin McDaniel today filed two consumer-protection lawsuits against Washington County businesses accused of advertising assistance that the businesses cannot legally provide to those seeking immigration help in Northwest Arkansas.

Specifically, the Attorney General's lawsuits claim that GYS Investments LLC and Sonia's Tax Services, both of Springdale, offer to process applications for permanent residency under a federal law that does not exist. The two businesses promote their ability to provide 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.

The Act, 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. "Through their deceptive actions, these businesses could actually make matters much worse for young people seeking to obtain permanent residency status."

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.

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.

The lawsuits against GYS Investments and Sonia Urrutia, doing business as Sonia's Tax Services, were filed in Washington County Circuit Court.

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