A Contemptuous Criminal

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Notified by my commentator friend, Rob, here is the relevant meat of the newsday story which this post will pertain to:

A self-styled pastor of a Queens church pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges he bilked more than 100 immigrants living onLong Island and in the city out of more than $50,000 in a visa scam, officials said.

The pastor’s name is Gregorio Gonzalez(Greg from here on out). This takes the trophy for thieve sleaziness. Greg used the powerful facade of God to steal significant sums of money from one of the most vulnerable segments of the U.S. population–undocumented immigrants. Ironically Greg is undocumented himself. His eventual deportation is a fitting punishment.

The extent of the harm that this type of fraud causes goes far beyond loss of money. It is not clear from the article whether Greg actually submitted these false visa applications to the government. If he did, not only will the victim be out of money, he/she  may be placed into removal(deportation) proceedings. People like Greg literally destroy lives in the U.S. and beyond. But for the fraudsters actions, in many instances the victims would never be detected by the U.S. government and would continue to be able to work and, most likely, send money back to their families in their native countries.

With the stamp of an envelope and a drop in a mailbox by Greg-types, an undocumented immigrant and his whole extended family life can be irreversibly changed for the worse.

Unfortunately, it it extremely difficult to detect immigration fraud. Even if the the fraud is detected, in many cases it will also be difficult to bring a successful prosecution. The reason? First, the victims of this fraud are most often undocumented immigrants who are reluctant to report the crime to the appropriate authorities out of fear(indeed, a justifiable fear) of deportation. Furthermore, many undocumented immigrants are not proficient in English and have not had pleasant past experiences with authority in their home countries(the police in Latin America, for example, are renowned for their unabashed corruption and abuse of power).

Second, on the occasion that immigration fraud is detected, it is often too late; the principal witnesses of the fraud, the victims, could have already been deported or are in the process of being deported.

Perhaps Comprehensive Immigration Reform(CIR) will cure this unacceptable robbery of the vulnerable undocumented population, if of course CIR is ever addressed and not ignored by the unfortunately absurd U.S. political process.

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4 Responses to “A Contemptuous Criminal”

  1. Sherlie Says:

    I had no idea so this was a very interesting read. I’m sure your expertise in the field of law will be of great assistance to these vulnerable people in the very near future. Thank you for blogging this… and I hope the message gets out there!

  2. Rey Lopez-Calderon Says:

    “His eventual deportation is a fitting punishment.”

    No, it’s not nearly enough. Damn that 8th amendment (shakes fist toward the heavens)!

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