US citizens and residents should beware of this “green card” fraudster. These immigrants prey on residents with the goal of a marrying for a green card-not love. The US citizen or resident marries in good faith, while the immigrant spouse alleges abuse to throw off suspicions it was a green card sham.
This type of immigration marriage fraud is becoming a common method for immigrants to gain immigration benefits. Victims of this scam are falsely accused of heinous crimes, and suffer personal and financial devastation, including lost custody of their children.
Back in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) had a well-meaning immigration part that allowed abused alien spouses to divorce and “self petition” their own immigration status. Unfortunately, over time, advocates connected to VAWA’s $480 million grant programs successfully lobbied for a broad overreach, undermining it with unlimited fraud opportunities.
VAWA’s innocent name is simply a ploy to camouflage its half a billion dollar grant programs — unaccountable slush funds steered back to many of the groups that lobbied for it. Almost all grants recently audited by the Inspector General had violations of grant requirements or fraud, including a Montana group that squandered $4 million in “unsupported grant expenditures”. Despite jaw dropping abuses, the House Appropriations Committee just announced a whopping $46 million increase for VAWA programs next year.
Currently there’s no due process of law and no meaningful requirements for proof of abuse. A simple allegation of abuse, even on the same day of marriage, can result in approval of a ‘domestic violence green card’. The immigrant “self petitions” for immigration status with no hard evidence or immigration hearing, no physical violence needed, and justified with vague “mental abuse”. Furthermore, US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) bans the American citizen from their constitutional right of defending themselves during the adjudication of the immigrant, if abuse is alleged.
A similar problem exists with the “U visa”. This signature legislation of the VAWA advocates was designed to provide visas primarily for undocumented immigrant abuse victims, but has morphed into a backdoor amnesty program. USCIS reports a meteoric rise in the total backlog of pending U Visa applications rising to 150,604 last year from 13,645 in 2010.
“It can’t be that there has suddenly been a wave of domestic violence or victimization of immigrants”, says Jessica Vaughn at the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. In a Fox New Report Vaughn suggests advocates for illegal immigration know these special green card programs are a way to launder the illegal status of many immigrants.
Unfortunately, the ease of obtaining green cards through these programs without an immigration hearing to air out the facts, means they’ve become a magnet for fraudsters.
US citizen, Elena Maria Lopez, recently testified at a Senate Judiciary hearing on visa fraud, that her Dutch husband received a green card despite his criminal activities, false statements and violence. Ironically the government considers her to be the abusive spouse because she refused to remain his immigrant sponsor.
Victims of Immigration Fraud, is an organization that helps US citizens, and has heard from a thousand women and men victims. Some have well documented evidence (including photos) of terrible abuse, threats and financial ruin by immigrant spouses.
Amazingly, taxpayer-funded programs such as the Legal Services Corporation and VAWA are available to help illegal immigrants, con artists, and even criminals make baseless allegations and file immigration paperwork, while receiving free legal counsel, shelter and lucrative benefits. The government is funding the defrauding of its own falsely accused citizens who are being denied those same critical life saving services.
Like a damsel in distress, the immigration provisions in the Violence Against Women Act need a rescue from special interests. For starters, USCIS should prosecute all immigration marriage fraud — not just splashy newsworthy cases. During disputes, both the immigrant and the US citizen should be allowed to testify at an immigration proceeding to restore due process of law. Removing fraudsters from the program will insure taxpayer funds are helping real and deserving immigrant crime victims.