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An admission and a green card

One Easter weekend a couple of years ago a news story broke that could be of importance to those interested in Immigration Law as well as those interested in Evidence Law. The story came out of New York state and may have object lessons for federal immigration officials and immigrants seeking to obtain their green cards. The story involved an immigration officer who was recorded demanding sex from a young foreign woman in exchange for her granting him a green card.

Those who know a little about immigration law understand that one of the fastest ways for a foreigner to obtain Lawful Permanent Resident status in the US, that is, to obtain a “green card”, is to marry a US citizen. Under this procedure, the foreigner becomes what is known as an “immediate relative” and does not have to wait for an immigrant visa to become available, a process that can sometimes take several years. Those who know a little about evidentiary law understand that in a criminal or civil proceeding a statement is not hearsay if it is a statement offered against another party and it is that party’s own statement. This is known as an “admission.” Since it is not hearsay, such an “admission” would be admissible in court against the person who made it.

I understand? Of course yes. Now consider this.

One Good Friday in March last year, an adjudication officer from the US Immigration Service office in New York state was arrested on corruption charges. He had threatened to delay an unknown woman’s green card application and even threatened to deport his relatives if she did not have sex with him.

The woman, who was married to a US citizen, admitted that she had given in to the officer’s initial demand for sex because she was afraid of his threats. But she was smart! She used her cell phone, hidden in her bag, to record the sexual encounter and the conversation that preceded it. She was even smarter then. Days after the meeting, she went to the New York Times with the recording of her cell phone to tell her story. She then notified the New York District Attorney about the matter. The officer was arrested and suspended from his job. Most likely, the case was turned over to the feds for prosecution of him. A trial in this type of case would be unlikely. The case would be ripe for a quick plea deal and a quicker plea, in light of the recorded sexual encounter and his threats that could be used against him at trial as admissions.

We don’t really know the outcome of this particular case, but experience with the criminal justice system provides insight into the usual course of these types of cases. The officer likely would have been allowed to plead guilty to attempted racketeering and abuse of office and at sentencing receive a 14-month sentence in a minimum-security federal correctional facility. Of course, he would also lose his job as an immigration officer. The woman married to an American would likely have received a green card from her and become a lawful permanent resident of the United States.

In real life, these kinds of cases only happen once in a while. In this case, the immigration officer was not very smart. As they say on the street, he literally “stumbled” on his own manhood! During his likely sentence of a 14-month trip to a minimum-security federal correctional facility, the officer would not be locked in a single cell, but instead would be in a dormitory or “capsule” that would have a large gathering space for inmates. known as the “day room”. Every day that he would be incarcerated he could, perhaps, “travel” to the prison day room and do penance for that “trip” that sent him there. Many would have done it before him.

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