Another scam designed to turn illegal immigrants into American citizens has been rooted out, with about 100 people being caught by law enforcement. While some may refer to a failed marriage as a sham, in Texas marriage sham describes a scheme to unite under false pretenses an alien with a citizen, to allow the undocumented spouse to gain entry to and citizenship in the United States. For this, the noncitizens paid between $50,000 and $70,000, with a portion going to the citizen partner for his or her contribution to the cause.
— ICE (@ICEgov) May 13, 2019
The ringleader, 53-year-old Ashley Yen Nguyen, AKA Duyen, not only participated as a spouse but also helped get dozens of couples married, provided falsified records, and helped recruit others to support the unlawful transactions. Although the business was based mostly in Houston, the ring, with the help of other recruiters, spread to other areas, including Vietnam.
The Business of Getting Hitched
Getting hitched as a migrant is not supposed to be a simple process. Of course, matrimony should never be taken lightly, but when one of the spouses moves to a new country and becomes a citizen, adapting to different laws, customs, and language, it requires a lot more than a blood test and a Vegas ceremony with Elvis Presley officiating. In fact, as the indictment points out, certain regulations need to be satisfied before a legal marriage can take place.
“…the beneficiary spouse must also file a Form I-864 which must be signed under penalty of perjury by the petitioner (i.e., his/her United States citizen spouse), in order to establish the beneficiary spouse [Illegal Immigrant] has adequate means of financial support and is not likely to rely on the United States government for financial support. In support of an I-864, the beneficiary spouse must submit employment records, asset records, and tax returns of himself/herself, his/her spouse, his/her household members, and/or his/her sponsor in order to establish that their collective income is at least 125 percent of the current Federal poverty line.”
In other words, the immigrant should be gainfully employed so as not to become a financial burden on our society. This is nothing new. Despite the left’s misguided attempts to support illegal immigration and make our nation an open-border free-for-all, border and immigration enforcement agents vigorously combat this ever-growing danger. As the indictment indicated, the newlywed migrant must provide proof of income, which includes taxes and employment information. However, “(t)he criminal organization also provides false tax, utility, and employment information, and false documentation in support thereof, in order for USCIS to approve the false immigration forms.”
But never fear. This is what Duyen and supporters in this marriage ring (pun intended) promised the hopeful spouses. “The conspirators receive monetary payments from these aliens and pay the United States citizens a fee for their role in this conspiracy.” The beneficiary spouse paid each time he or she received one of the services, which included everything from forged employment and tax records to fake wedding albums. Yes, the wedding planners also provided albums with fake pictures of the happy couple as part of the packaged deals.
Another stipulation to gaining citizenship by marriage is that “…the United States citizen petitioner must also submit evidence that he/she actually met the alien fiancé in person within the prior two years.” But, you guessed it, many of the loving couples met just minutes before pledging ‘til death do us part. Then, the happy honeymooners, in many cases, went on their own happily single way without ever living together or even pretending to be a married couple.
The Honeymoon Is Over
Who needs divorce court when the marriage isn’t even legal? These couples, however, will need to find themselves a good attorney to get out of a host of charges, including marriage fraud, immigration fraud, and mail fraud. Duyen was just one of 96 people indicted who could face up to 20 years in prison. Mail fraud alone could put defendants behind bars for 20 years, and a marriage fraud charge nets a maximum of five years in prison.
The ol’ ball and chain metaphor just took on a whole new meaning for these soulmates.
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