Endemic Green Card Fraud in VAWA Immigration Programs
The original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has provisions, still, in effect, that ostensibly allow abused immigrant spouses to self-petition their immigration status to escape domestic violence. Granted VAWA has a number of laudable goals, but from the very start, ADV advocates increasingly added immigration provisions to VAWA making it all too easy to claim abuse to insure immigration status.3 Currently, there is no meaningful proof of abuse and no due process of law for the accused.
Under VAWA, Immigrant spouses can claim abuse and self-petition of their immigration status even on the same day of marriage, with no proof, hard evidence, witnesses, or questions asked.4 This rigged scam bans the accused US citizen spouse from their Constitutional right to defend themselves during the USCIS adjudication process.
For accused US citizens such false abuse claims are a nightmare. “Some have had to spend money on lawyers and years defending themselves” according to a News 4 investigate report. 5 Other falsely accused USC’s suffer terrible harm including loss of their home, possessions, imprisonment, and even the loss of their own children.
Since 1994, more than 8 billion dollars have been spent on grant projects authorized by VAWA, and primarily administered by the Office on Violence Women (OVW).6 Sadly, scarce federal resources are being steered to anti-domestic violence organizations that seem more interested in advancing political agendas or helping immigrant con artists rather than destitute victims that are being shortchanged. Absolute proof of this comes from a recent report that reported a 305% increase for potential fraud referrals for a USCIS program that grants citizenship for alleged abused spouses under VAWA.7 Meanwhile, anti-domestic violence organizations are far more worried about increased USCIS scrutiny than the outrageous fraud.8
VAWA advocates also wrote their own amnesty program. The U Visa- also known as the crime victim visa -was incorporated into the 2000 VAWA and provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented crime victims, mostly abuse-related. It was supposed to encourage immigrants to report and help police solve crimes but has morphed into unlimited fraud opportunities.9 The current total backlog of U Visa petitions (primary petitioner and family derivatives) awaiting adjudication has skyrocketed from 13,645 in FY 2010 to a currently estimated quarter- of -a million. “It can’t be that there’s suddenly been a crime wave or victimization against immigrants,” says Jessica Vaughn, with the non-partisan Center for Immigration Studies.10 In a Fox News Report Vaughn suggested that advocates for illegal immigration know these special green card programs are a way to launder the illegal status of many illegal immigrants.
Catastrophic Failure: Domestic Violence Organizations and following the money
Everyone should applaud The Violence Against Women’s Act’s ostensible stated purpose. But the well-intentioned language masks VAWA’s grant programs plagued with well-documented waste, fiscal abuses, bloated overhead, immigration loopholes, and outright fraud.11 Appropriations for VAWA currently average about $500 million annually, plus additional funding for other related programs. But instead of money going directly to destitute victims it often gets steered to state clearinghouses, that allocate pass-through grants to smaller ADV organizations resulting in a mere trickle of money for real victims.
Former Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), an icon of government fiscal accountability, blasted VAWA’s financial abuses in a Senate floor speech in 2013.12 “Layer over layer over layer of administrative cost” and “VAWA is particularly wasteful”. He also suggested that instead of spending money on the domestic violence problem they’re spending money on the process.
VAWA’s catastrophic financial abuses came to light recently when the CEO of the Florida Coalition of Domestic Violence (Tiffany Carr) steered an estimated $7 million dollars compensation to herself, including millions for time off.13 The state clearinghouses and their member organizations seem to function as “VAWA domestic violence brokers” that charge outrageous commissions in the form of bloated salaries and overhead, financial abuse, and waste so that real destitute victims are being shortchanged.
No one should underestimate their power grab over our immigration system. In general, recipients of federal funding are prohibited from using federal funds to lobby at the federal, state, or local level. However, the VAWA statute has an exemption allowing organizations to lobby for policies approved by OVW and specifically related to dating violence, sexual violence, sexual assault, and stalking.14 Left to their own interpretation this conceivably gives them a green light to exploit this loophole by advocating for sanctuary policies with their usual mantra….” Immigration enforcement harms domestic violence victims who are afraid to report crimes to police”. This argument seems almost laughable considering the stampede of illegal immigrants seeking U Visas by eagerly reporting crimes to the police to the point where they are staging fake crimes against themselves or falsely incriminating USC’s.15
Anti-Domestic Violence groups can thumb their noses at government auditors. Only about 1% of VAWA grantees are audited by the Office of Inspector General annually. Almost all grants audited have appalling violations of grant conditions or outright fraud, including a Dawson County (Montana) Domestic Violence group that squandered $4 million in questionable grant expenditures.16 Despite these abuses they continue to receive large government subsidies. 17
Anti-Domestic Violence groups enable illegal immigration
Anti-Domestic Violence groups unilaterally suffer from an ideological bias that the solution to world poverty is for the United States to open up our borders without immigration enforcement. They also believe immigrants have an inherent right to receive taxpayer-funded legal assistance, welfare, free tuition, health care, citizenship, and other government benefits.
Rather surprisingly, this mass illegal invasion philosophy is being successfully led with military precision by just a few organizations specializing in immigrant women services. These unofficial leaders play a critical command role by organizing and mobilizing hundreds of other organizations with media and grassroots campaigns or sign-on letters to Congress. Each organization typically has an army of enthusiastic supporters, pro bono lawyers, or grassroots activists. Their power grab is further augmented by forming working alliances and filing legal challenges with the ACLU, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and other organizations with a pro-illegal immigration viewpoint.
This begs a question about why a few executives of ADV organizations have so much influence on our immigration system? These objections are well justified given the fact that these executives represent non-profit 501 ( c) (3) charity organizations. The problem is they’re not elected, and thus do and not represent the will of the people. Probably these groups know that in order to advance political agendas they need easy, unaccountable money by accessing federal resources.
Some Anti-Domestic Violence organizations have glitzy websites describing well-meaning protections for immigrant women. A Google search of the term, “Amicus briefs assistance for immigrant women” reveals an unbelievable number of lawsuits against the government that helps subsidize their very existence aimed at opening up the immigration sieve.18 The top of the search results reveals a VAWA connected immigrant women service provider that lists 34 legal challenges (Amicus Briefs) on their website describing their efforts to fight USCIS or government decisions negatively impacting their extreme Open Borders agenda.
It seems like government funding is being used to defraud our immigration system. But proving misuse of federal funding for prohibited lobbying activities is difficult. If investigated these groups may claim their lobbying for open borders came from non-federal sources and thus perfectly legal. They can also set up mirror organizations, legally distinct but closely cooperating. They share the same building, resources, and staff. One is federally funded while the other is not, making the tracing of unlawful expenditures for lobbying activity nearly impossible. They also have the media at their beckon that will publicly flog the reputation of anyone who exposes their financial abuses or is opposed to their extreme agendas. 19
Current VAWA renewal mired in partisan bickering amid fraud and fiscal abuse
Recent efforts to renew VAWA have been caught up in partisan bickering. In 2019, a Democratic bill (S. 2843) and Republican-backed bill S-2920 failed to gain legislative traction.
The proposed Republican bill increases VAWA appropriations by a stunning $468.9 million, while the Democratic bill increases appropriations by a slightly lesser amount.20 These increases are unconscionable considering both of these VAWA reauthorizations fail to address widespread and well-documented immigration fraud, waste, and financial abuses.
As the Policy debate about the future of the Violence Against Women heats up, there is one thing that both VAWA advocates and their critics can agree upon: The future of the Violence Against Women Act is at a crossroads.
By David Root, Public Policy Director, Victims of Immigration Fraud
EXAMPLES OF VAWA DOMESTIC VIOLENCE GROUPS PROMOTING OPEN BORDERS
Leading the surgeon to the Southern border.
Beginning in late 2008, a Virginia-based Immigrant Women’s group that relies on VAWA funding “had a meeting with members of the immigration transition team of President-elect Obama to discuss possible asylum system reforms”.
Currently, several VAWA connected immigration advocates are coordinating efforts and filing legal challenges related to asylum eligibility based on gender-based violence. But practically all asylum seekers from Central America are filing for asylum with meritless claims who are economic migrants- not domestic violence victims. Some of them are vigorously advocating for the DACA program as well.
Advocating for immigration fraud. Dozens of Organizations focused on VAWA enabled immigration issues went on the record opposing immigration fraud by submitting their comments opposing a USCIS tip form. USCIS Docket ID- USCIS-2019-0001.
Allegedly preparing fraudulent immigration paperwork
Victims of Immigration Fraud is an organization that advocates on behalf of US citizens and residents victimized by marriage fraud through VAWA. Many of their members have stated that federally funded VAWA organizations or the Legal Services Corporation grantees are assisting their immigrant spouses to prepare fraudulent USCIS immigration paperwork or representing them in Protective Order hearings in attempts to secure domestic violence green cards.
Laundering the criminal or illegal status of illegal immigrants. VAWA sponsors grant projects that educate lawyers and others on how to fight deportations in “A Practical Guide for U Visa clients with Criminal Convictions or Criminal history“. This was supported by Grant No. 2009TAAXK009 awarded by DOJ, Office on Violence Against Women as stated in the grant recipient’s newsletter. Other groups
Opposing Executive Orders
563 organizations signed a March 8, 2017 letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly and ICE Director Tom Homan in opposition to various immigration-related Executive orders. Most notably it was written by 7 organizations, at least five of whom are considered the “kingpins” for VAWA enabled immigration issues.
Vigorously advocating an expansion of the corrupt refugee program.
A simple google search using the term “VAWA action refugee alerts” reveals their real political agenda to expand the notoriously corrupt refugee program.
Challenging adverse USCIS decisions against illegal immigrant clients. VAWA connected groups and their lawyers legally challenge USCIS requests for evidence, denials, deportations, or any adverse action.
Training and educating others on how to avoid Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or fight deportation actions. This has been carried out with training sessions or webinars.
VAWA funding supports liberal think tank organizations
They strategize how to advance legislative and administrative strategies aimed at aiding and abetting illegal immigrants. They also train, educate, and influence judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and others based upon their own self-serving and one-dimensional pro-immigration bias.
6 https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R45410.pdf ( page 12)
14 https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/ojp/forms-documents/Documents/CVS/GrantProgramGuidelines(VAWASPT18).pdf (Page 5, “Restrictions on lobbying and Policy development”)
18 https://www.google.com/search q=amicis+briefs+assistance+for+immigrant+women&rlz=1C1SQJL_enUS806US806&oq=amicis+briefs+assistance+for+immigrant+women&aqs=chrome..69i57.9532j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
20 Flyer received from “Coalition to End Domestic Violence” on 1/15/2020 titled, “Shocker: Ernst Bill would increase VAWA authorizations by $468.9 million”.