N.Y. Legislator, Supporter of State Dream Act, Zapped for Marriage Fraud

By David North on July 1, 2014

Gabriela Rosa, a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly and a supporter of that state's law allowing illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition rates at state colleges, has just been forced to resign from the legislature because of her admission of immigration/marriage and other forms of fraud.

It's a witches' brew of a story: birth in the Dominican Republic, her intriguing immigration history, her bogus marriage to a citizen, the legislator's earlier employment by a crooked member of the city council, her work on the personal staff of the one-time leader of Tammany Hall, a fraud-filled bankruptcy filing, an illegal $1,000 campaign contribution from a foreign nation, her election to the state assembly, and her current prospect of jail time.

It also marks two major setbacks in a single week as the Dominican migrant community in New York City sought political power. And it is another victory for clean government won by the crusading U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, another immigrant (from India) and another Democrat.

The chronology looks like this:

1966. Birth in the Dominican Republic. She secured two bachelor's degrees there.

1994. She arrives in New York and, according to her since-deleted N.Y. Assembly website: "[D]uring her initial years she worked in the retail industry." It is possible that she had an H-1B visa, but it is more likely she was in illegal status. The state assembly, not generally noted for fast action, deleted her webpage from its site "within minutes of her resignation", according to press reports.

1996. She allegedly pays $8,000 to (an unnamed) U.S. citizen (Spouse 1 in the indictment) to marry her, securing a green card two or three years later as a result.

1998. She gives birth to a son to a man she subsequently married, Spouse 2.

1999. She divorces Spouse 1.

2000. She starts working for Assemblyman Herman D Farrell Jr., a longtime Democratic district leader, assemblyman, and former head of Tammany Hall. Farrell, currently chair of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, is a Harlem politician aware of the growing strength of the Dominican community in New York City. Soon thereafter she also began working as a political organizer in various campaigns.

2002. She becomes chief of staff of City Councilman Miguel Martinez, another Democrat, and another immigrant from the Dominican Republic; he subsequently resigned and pled guilty to stealing more than $100,000 in tax funds.

2004. She returns to working for Farrell.

2005. She becomes a U.S. citizen, based on the fraudulent marriage to Spouse 1.

2009. She files for bankruptcy, and sheds $30,000 in credit card bills and other debts, including a $10,990 debt to the State Employees Federal Credit Union (i.e., her fellow workers). The indictment says that she lied to secure the bankruptcy settlement, not mentioning Spouse 2 and his income, her income as a political consultant, or her ownership of a co-op apartment, bought with "tens of thousands of dollars in cash", to quote the indictment.

2010. She seeks, but loses, the Democratic nomination for the Assembly in the 72nd District.

2012. She wins the same district, becoming the first female native of the Dominican republic to serve in the State Legislature. During the campaign she accepted a (forbidden) $1,000 campaign contribution from a not-named foreign nation (the Dominican Republic, perhaps?).

2014. She agrees to a plea bargain regarding two felonies; she resigns from the assembly, faces jail time, and agrees never to run for public office again, but has been assured that she will not be deported. She agrees to give the $1,000 back to the foreign nation.

All of Ms. Rosa's problems came to a head on Friday, June 27; on the previous Tuesday, in the same part of New York City, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, another Dominican Democrat, lost his attempt to displace long-time Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). Rangel, the African-American former chair of the federal House Ways and Means Committee, won the primary despite some major ethical challenges of his own. Because of a quirk of New York state law, Espaillat can run for another two-year term in that body later this year; he did not have to give up his seat to seek Rangel's job. (Rosa had been a supporter of Espaillat.)

Rosa's now-departed website hailed her support of in-state tuition rates for illegal aliens and also for her vote to make it possible for these aliens to secure tuition scholarships. In at least one instance, this assistance was described as relating to "children of immigrants". This is a persisting inaccuracy in this debate; the tuition breaks are for illegals themselves, not for the children of immigrants, though an individual could be classified as a member of both groups.

The chronology above was constructed out of reporting in the New York Times, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and her since-deleted own resume. The underlying indictment cannot, at this writing, be seen on PACER, the federal courts' electronic documents system but is attached to the Daily News article.