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Legal Document Preparers Meet Growing Demand for Affordable Immigration Assistance; National Association of Legal Document Preparers (NALDP) Launches Online Immigration Resource for Consumers and Legal Document Preparers.

WASHINGTON -- For many immigrants seeking U.S. citizenship, the complex paperwork can be daunting, but hiring an attorney may be cost prohibitive or unnecessary. Legal document preparers are meeting a growing demand for immigration assistance by providing affordable document preparation services.

NALDP has launched an online resource to help immigrants, legal document preparers and the general public understand the current immigration debate and how a legal document preparer can assist in the immigration process.

Available at www.naldp.org, the immigration resource page includes information on federal and state legislation concerning legal document preparers and immigration assistance, links to immigration forms and resources, and a national directory of legal document preparers.

"The nationwide debate sparked by the U.S. Congress' legislation on immigration reform and border security has increased awareness and interest in the immigration process. NALDP felt it was important to use this increased interest to provide valuable information to the public and our members about immigration and establish legal document preparers as an affordable option for legal immigrants on their path to citizenship," said Lizanne Sadlier, NALDP Director.

It is estimated that there are 8 million people eligible to become U.S. citizens who have not filled out the paperwork to begin the process. There are also an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the nation, some of whom may be given the opportunity to become citizens, depending on the outcome of pending federal legislation.

According to a recent survey of NALDP members, about a quarter offer immigration document services and many more are preparing to offer these services soon. Legal document preparers primarily assist with the routine preparation of naturalization applications, employment authorizations, green card renewals and family petitions, but can prepare most immigration-related documents. Also, more than a third of NALDP members provide bilingual services to give comfort and assistance to those who have not yet mastered the English language.

Pending immigration legislation has led to a spike in the demand for assistance with immigration forms. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that applications in the first three months of the year increased 19 percent over the same period last year. Indeed, 91% of legal document preparers who prepare immigration documents say they have seen an increase in the demand for immigration services. Document preparers say the most widely requested documents are N-400, Application for Naturalization; I-130, Petition for Alien Relative; I-131, Application for Travel Document; and I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

Visit NALDP's Immigration Resource Page at http://www.naldp.org/ianda/immigration.asp.

About NALDP

National Association of Legal Document Preparers, Inc., based in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit organization formed to give a voice and a national forum to the growing number of legal document preparers, legal technicians, online legal document providers and independent paralegals across the country. We are a grassroots network dedicated to the principle that all citizens have a constitutional right to represent themselves; and, in exercising that right, they have affordable access to efficient, effective and ethical legal document preparation services. In addition to those professionals working directly with legal documents, our membership includes public policy, education and consumer advocacy professionals who share a commitment to the principles of NALDP. More information is available at http://www.naldp.org.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jul 19, 2006
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