A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog about one-sided marriage fraud, in which a citizen or resident alien believing it is love is duped into marriage by an alien all about angling for a green card, leaving the duped one with, at best, a broken heart and emotional scars, and at worst physical or mental abuse, and often financial mayhem.
I rhetorically asked who looks out for these victims and encouraged them to report the alien spouse to, among others, the Ombudsman’s Office at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, even though I had doubts that this office much cares about anyone except the aliens seeking benefits. I was contacted by a reader who took my advice. This is the response she got (her name is used with her permission):
From: cisombudsman To: 'Elena Maria Lopez' Sent: Tuesday, December 8, 2015 8:04 AM Subject: RE: Husb. repeatedly attacked me, involved in criminal activities - STILL given US [email protected]> Dear Ms. Lopez, Thank you for your recent e-mail to the Ombudsman's Office. The Ombudsman's Office is limited, by federal statute, to assisting individuals and employers in resolving problems connected with cases currently pending before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Accordingly, the issue about which you have contacted us does not fall within our office's sphere of authority. Allegations of document and benefit fraud are investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force. Complaints regarding document and benefit fraud may be reported to the ICE tip line at: 1-866-DHS-2-ICE. We hope that you find this information to be helpful. Sincerely, Office of CIS Ombudsman
Well as I live and breathe. Do they cite the statute as a reason not to get involved? Since when does USCIS give a fig about statutes? This is an agency that has used, misused, abused, and outright violated the law for the entire duration of the Obama administration. It has:
- Created “deferred action” programs out of whole cloth that, until halted by a federal court, granted “lawful status” to hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens;
- Given out work permits like Halloween candy (between 2009 and 2014, 7.4 million and still counting), thus undercutting the spirit and intent of employer verification laws designed to weed out illegal aliens from the workplace;
- Routinely granted immigration parole to thousands of illegal aliens, despite the law’s requirement that it be granted sparingly and on a “case-by-case” basis; and
- Apparently never met a terrorist it didn’t like, having granted in the federal fiscal year 2014 alone more than 1,500 waivers to identified terrorists and their supporters to permit them entry into the United States (not to mention the ones that have gotten unidentified through their allegedly impenetrable vetting wall).
Yet the Ombudsman’s Office has the audacity to hide behind the law in its non-response to Ms. Lopez. If that is the law, then as Mr. Bumble famously noted, “the law is an ass, an idiot”. I have my doubts the law is that clear-cut. It may require officials of the Ombudsman’s Office to look into matters in which aliens have a complaint or concern over how they are treated by the bureaucracy, but I doubt that it proscribes them from aiding citizens or lawful residents who have been taken advantage of by aliens abusing the system to obtain green cards, and I cannot fathom it proscribes them from relaying to the appropriate officials in USCIS information about a fraud that was perpetrated upon the agency as surely as it was on the citizen.
That those officials choose to turn a cold shoulder to such abuse without even attempting to be of help says much about their mindset, and brings me back to my earlier blog, in which I said that if this office is as non-responsive to citizens as the one in ICE, then it too should be defunded and put out of business by Congress. Equally worrying, though, is that this is exactly the reason that the agency is plagued by vetting errors of the most egregious sort, leading to the admission of criminals and terrorists. The attitude seems to be, “Well, for better or worse, we’ve already handled that — not my job anymore. Talk to somebody else to fix it.”
So allow me to amend the advice I gave in my earlier blog, and suggest that victims of one-sided marriage frauds send their concerns to the ICE Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force in addition to your senators and member of Congress. But I would still send a copy to the USCIS Ombudsman’s Office. Why let them off the hook so easily? Three other pieces of advice:
- First, don’t just use the ICE telephone tip hotline the Ombudsman’s Office suggests — better to send complaints in writing, as I explained in my first blog; they’re harder to ignore. The ICE Headquarters address is 500 12th St., SW, Washington, D.C. 20536.
- Second, don’t let anyone in an official capacity tell you that, where domestic abuse is concerned, it takes either a felony or three misdemeanors to render your spouse/former spouse deportable. Another reader communicated to me that this is what she was told when she initiated contact with her local ICE office, and it’s inaccurate. Here is the relevant language in the statute, at 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(E): “(i) Any alien who at any time after admission is convicted of a crime of domestic violence, a crime of stalking, or a crime of child abuse, child neglect, or child abandonment is deportable. … (ii) Any alien who at any time after admission is enjoined under a protection order issued by a court and whom the court determines has engaged in conduct that violates the portion of a protection order that involves protection against credible threats of violence, repeated harassment, or bodily injury to the person or persons for whom the protection order was issued is deportable.”
- Third, there is power and influence in numbers. If enough victims of this kind of fraud and abuse get together, things get done. (Who knows? Maybe even a change in attitude at USCIS.) Elena Maria Lopez, the individual who so kindly shared her Ombudsman’s response and permitted me to use her name, has re-instituted a website for victims of fraud. Perhaps in coordination, several victims will have more success in overcoming an obdurate bureaucracy than anyone alone.