Some farmworkers are confused about the differences between notary publics in the United States and those in Mexico or other Latin American countries. Some of the main differences are listed below.
In the United States notary publics have two main functions: to take oaths and to verify signatures.
In Latin American countries, such as Mexico, a notary public is an attorney and is able to perform all sorts of legal work, such as drafting documents and appearing in court. In those countries, the term “notario” indicates a high rank in the legal profession.
In the United States, however, there are no special qualifications or training for a person to become a notary. It is easy for someone to become a notary in the U.S., whereas in Mexico a notary is a highly trained lawyer. Becoming a notary in the United States requires no legal background or training (view the qualifications here).
Many farmworkers have visited notaries to seek advice on such issues as taxes, immigration and adoption. Much of the advice has turned out to be incorrect and has cost farmworkers both time and money.
It is against the law in the United States for notaries to give legal advice unless they are also attorneys.
Farmworkers needing assistance of any kind should not visit a notary unless they are sure that the notary is qualified to provide such a service.
A person should not visit a notary or any other type of service provider simply because that person speaks Spanish or is of the same background. The ability to provide quality service is more important than being a member of the same race or being able to speak the same language.
If you have questions call or visit an office of.
To locate free or low cost legal assistance:
Visit thehome page and search for local assistance by entering your zip code in the box marked “Find a lawyer, organization or related service to help you with your problem.” or
Look under "attorneys" in the yellow pages to find your local legal aid office, or
Contact theat (800) 968- 0738.
Persons age 60 or older, regardless of their income, may be able to receive free advice from theby calling (800) 347-5297.
This article appears courtesy of the Farmworker Legal Services.