Despair and haste are usually bad advisors. A woman, 38 years old and mother of two girls, fell into the networks of a group of scammers while trying to find a sponsor to apply for the parole program approved by the Biden administration.

The woman, originally from Venezuela, wanted to leave her country as soon as possible so she could go to the United States, where a cousin, she told El Nuevo Herald, had found her a job.

Since no family member or friend of those who were on American soil met the requirements to be a sponsor, Maurys Hernández took the plunge and fell into the temptation of social networks. It was clear to me that without a “sponsor‘I couldn’t seek parole. And she was determined to give her daughters a better quality of life.

Criminals disguise themselves as immigration lawyers and judges to defraud immigrants in the United States

Defrauding immigrants with the “sponsor”

Since the launch of the two-year humanitarian program in October 2021 to November 2023, El Nuevo Herald points out, more than 297,000 Cubans, Venezuelans, Haitians and Nicaraguans have legally arrived in the United States.

The program started only with Venezuela and was expanded a year ago to include citizens of other countries.

Parole allows migrants to come and live and work in the United States as long as they have a financial sponsor, pay for their own airfare and pass health and background checks.

– “We have our secret to make the process go quickly,” a man who identified himself as Ricardo told Hernández via WhatsApp messages, the media reported above.

The Venezuelan had been scrolling through social media until she came across “what looked like an immigration consultancy” on Instagram.

Ricardo noticed Maurys Hernández’s desperation and took advantage of it: he promised to “bring her and her daughters to the United States in exchange for $5,200.”

-”We won’t let you down”, he confirmed in another post. He told him “there was a 90% chance you would arrive before the end of the year.”

Maurys Hernández wanted to go to the United States because a cousin got her a job as a caregiver for the elderly. Photo: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska Photo: PanoSupport

The woman dreamed of traveling and being able to work for an older woman, as her cousin had explained to her.

Two months later, and even more subtly: “after the first payments, Hernández and his daughters are still in Venezuela,” El Nuevo Herald points out.

Maurys returned to the networks disappointed. This time he vented on Facebook. I had tried to reach Ricardo by phone numerous times, but no one responded. They also did not answer his messages.

When they finally broke the silence, they wanted to tell him that “they pulled his sponsorship because he complained about them on Facebook.”

– “Unfortunately, because of what you put on social media that we had defrauded you, this got into the eyes of the sponsors, so they decided to cancel the procedure,” Ricardo said.

– “I can imagine that you became desperate, you didn’t trust us,” The man concluded that by the time he spoke to El Nuevo Herald, Hernández had paid back the money, as he had announced.

The Venezuelan admitted to the American media: “They basically knocked me to the ground.”

Hernández, in the words of the Nuevo Herald, “is among the would-be migrants who have fallen prey to unscrupulous scammers who are abusing the parole program.”

Beware of this scam that targets immigrants in the United States: they get work permits that could cost you deportation

This is how they set the trap

Hernández told the media that he “gave the alleged consulting firm copies of his passport and ID and those of his daughters, as well as his home address.”

A close friend in the United States sent the agency an initial payment of $1,450 to an account provided to him, according to screenshots of the transaction.

Using voice notes, they guided her through the process of creating an account with Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

When she wanted to know how her case was going, “the counselors told her they knew hackers who could break into the parole program’s application database and promote her. But it would cost you more money.”

Hernández did the process in reverse, so to speak: She guessed who she was in and started investigating with her friend how the parole process actually worked.

Be careful

“Scammers often try to create confusion by complicating information that already exists or creating false information about the process,” said Monna Kashfi of Welcome.US, an online platform that mobilizes Americans to sponsor welfare recipients and refugees.

They post photos of happy, reunited families holding American flag balloons at airports as “proof” that their services are legitimate.


Recently, El Nuevo Herald published, that company identified a handful of scammers who were trying to create “fictitious accounts” and sell access to its platform, which is supposed to be free.

For Kashfi, “that’s the most important thing to keep in mind There is no compensation associated with access to processes.”

Therefore, “any request for money to access the platform, submit the form or obtain an expedited review of the application should be cause for concern,” Kashfi said.

“Beneficiaries,” said Monna Kashfi, “are never obligated to repay, compensate, work, provide any service, marry or otherwise compensate anyone in exchange for sponsorship.”

The pain of the scam is explained by Maurys as follows: “I cried as if you have no idea. I was super excited. I said, it’s a better quality of life for my daughters.”