In Hispanic countries, Notarios Publicos are highly trained legal professionals akin to attorneys who provide legal advice and draft legal documents.
In the United States, however, Notaries are state-commissioned officials with narrow witnessing duties and much less discretion. Many unethical individuals exploit the confusion over these different roles to take advantage of unsuspecting immigrants.
For six decades, the National Notary Association has worked to educate Notaries, government officials and the general public about Notario abuse.
The NNA's handout "What Is A Notary Public" explains the lawful role of U.S. Notaries and how it differs from that of Notarios.