Remember Elias Bermudez? He one of the stranger critics of Sheriff Joe Arpaio who practically disappeared a few years ago after being ordered by a county judge to stop charging immigrants for his legal advice, since he's not a lawyer.
Well, he's popped up again -- the New Mexico Attorney General's Office says Bermudez was "providing unauthorized immigration consulting services," including helping immigrants prepare Deferred Action applications.
The New Mexico AG's office says Bermudez and other Arizonans had set up their company, Centro Ayuda USA Inc., in Albuquerque.
"Centro Ayuda operated under pretext that it is a non-profit entity, which does not charge for its services," a statement from New Mexico Attorney General Gary King's office says. "However, the company informed clients that it expected a donation of $500. Centro Ayuda's Director Elias Bermudez is neither an attorney nor is he accredited by the federal Board of Immigration Appeals, as required by law."
That sounds awfully familiar to how Bermudez operated back in Arizona, as described in a 2007 New Times cover story:
At an event in August, aimed at letting workers know what could happen to them under Arizona's new employer sanctions law, Inmigrantes has a table set up where people can fill out and file what's known as a G-28 form, which gives legal representation to immigrants. Filers are asked for a $10 donation, which goes to Inmigrantes, and the paperwork is filed by Bermudez's for-profit document-preparation business, Centro de Ayuda (The Help Center).
The New Mexico AG says Bermudez's problems included the fact that he's not an attorney, didn't have accreditation from the federal Board of Immigration Appeals, and was not registered with the state or city of Albuquerque.
The statement says Bermudez shut down his shop voluntarily.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.