Here’s a different marriage-related immigration fraud story, this time with a happy ending for the public, if not the alien.
Every day or so we here at the Center receive notes and letters asking for help when citizens get caught up in marriages to aliens that turn out badly — the alien marries the American, then she turns on him (the victims are usually men), accuses him of abuse, files (usually successfully) for green card status, and the government does not lift a finger. We published a collection of these stories recently.
In contrast, this is a case in North Carolina in which the fraudulently wed alien was sent to jail pending trial, has pleaded guilty of visa fraud, faces a $41,511.06 restitution order, and will be “promptly deported”, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of that state.
There are a lot of differences between this case and the ones we hear about so often:
- Usually the alien does not spend time in jail;
- If soldiers are involved in such cases they are usually men; this time the alien soldier is a woman from Azerbaijan;
- Rarely are financial penalties imposed on the alien;
- Usually the entity being financially abused is not the U.S. Army;
- Unusually, she sought to be naturalized, exposing her to another review by DHS; and
- In bribery cases, such as this one, DHS does not have to sort out justice in a “he said, she said” conflict.
One or more of the last three variables may explain why the matter was handled as it was.
The case covers a number of years. The alien, Maryam Movsum Hasanova, arrived in the States as an exchange visitor sometime before March 2014. Her status expired at that time and, subsequently, she paid a citizen (who was not charged and whose initials are SVM) $15,000 to marry her so that she could get a green card. Their first two brushes with the feds led her to a green card, she subsequently joined the U.S. Army, and “she began collecting U.S. Military Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) at the married rate,” according to the cited press release.
The difference, I assume, between what she should have been collecting (as a single person) and what she did collect added up to the $41,511.06 noted above.
There is no clue in the indictment as to how the Feds found out about this situation, but I suspect that it came out in the naturalization process.
Hasanova might not be on a plane to Baku had she not sought to be a citizen, or joined the Army, two otherwise commendable activities. Odd.