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4/13/2022 Issue
A scam is an illegal plan for making money, by tricking a VICTIM into paying the SCAMMER for obtaining something of value – which actually is of no value at all,or may be even harmful to the victim in addition to the loss of money.
           In the field of immigration, the SCAMMER promises the victim an immigration benefit, such as a Green Card or an Employment Permit, and not delivering. The additional harm is caused by exposing the victim to the Immigration Service, which treats the victim as the real culprit, even if the victim truly did not know they are being scammed.

           A few days ago, it was published that the U.S. government arrested a group of eleven (11) persons, six of them Filipinos living in Los Angeles, who participated in a big Green Card scam.
           It started when one of them set up a phony “employment agency”, through which they identified people who actually needed Green Cards. Then they offered them – SURPRISE, SURPRISE – Green Cards, not employment. How? By marriage to American citizens. Not just any marriage, but a “failed” marriage.
           It seems that Step One of the scam worked. The government claims that they found at least four hundred (400!) victims for this scam.
           Step Two would be to provide a U.S. citizen spouse for the victim and file the petition and application on behalf of the couple. But the scammers had the bright idea of doing the marriage case without an American spouse – by claiming that the victim was “abused” by the American spouse and was self-petitioning under the VAWA (Violence Against Women Act), which is done without participation of the abusive American spouse. Great – is it not? If you lie about the marriage, you may also lie about the existence of the spouse.
           Immigration fraud never has much chance of success - especially not when it is done as a “business”, on such a grand scale. The scammers get caught and the victims get denied. But the real harm to the victims over and beyond to the loss of money is that they get exposed to the Immigration Service and will be treated, most probably, as guilty of fraud and of sham marriages, with all the negative consequences.


           Can the U.S. government operate a Scam? Yes, if they want to scam the scammers. The story is unusual.
           Some years ago, the Immigration Service decided on an operation to catch school brokers and recruiters who sought to abuse the foreign student system of the U. S. (SEVIS), by promising student visas (F-1) to non-citizens who were interested in staying in the U.S. as “students” without actually attending school. For this program (scam?) the government created a FAKE university under the name of University of Northern New Jersey (UNNJ) in a store front in a small town in New Jersey. ICE agents put up an enticing website and started to receive applications and providing documents necessary to apply for change of status (Form I-20). Of course, ICE agents who operated the fake university did not provide any classes, lectures, exams or education.
           This fake university operated for approximately two and a half (2 1/2) years, and enrolled a little more than 1,000 students. The brokers
and recruiters who fell into the trap of this fake university made a lot of money, because they were manufacturing and selling a lot of fake documents for their “students”.
           Then, one day, ICE pulled the plug on this project and arrested and charged 21 brokers and recruiters.
          What about the 1,000 plus “students”? They were advised that their visas had been cancelled and many were put in removal (deportation) proceedings. But…
           But, the case against the “students” was not so simple, because it was not always possible to prove that they knew – or should have known – that the University of Northern New Jersey (UNNJ) was a fake university. Did all of them participate knowingly in this scam? Some of the students filed a lawsuit against the government.
           Finally, after a long time, it looks as if the government operation (Scam?) is coming to an end. The government agreed to cancel, or wipe out, all immigration offenses against the students and the students must agree to give up all claims against the government.
           But I wonder: what about the tuition fees the students paid to the fake university?


           If somebody is adopted by an American citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident, the adoptive parent may file a petition for the adoptee, but…
           But there are many requirements and conditions for such a petition to be acceptable. The main requirement is the age of the adoptee – he or she must be a “child” at the time the adoption is ordered by a judge in court, and a “child” for adoption is only a person under age sixteen (16).
           Still, a scammer developed a scam. A man in California advertised himself as an organization called “Americans Helping American Chamber of Commerce”, and offered “membership” in a “Migration Program” providing ADULT ADOPTIONS leading to U.S. citizenship.
           It seems that if you have a convincing website, you can sell anything, and he found several hundred desperate non-citizens who signed up for citizenship by Adult Adoption. The members paid a nice fee and got nothing.
           In this case, at least, the Federal Judge who sentenced this SCAMMER took the matter seriously and sentenced him to twenty (20) years in prison.


           How can you protect yourself from immigration scams?
           Use the old warning from ancient Roman Law: CAVEAT EMPTOR, meaning: BUYER BEWARE. Don’t believe everything you are told. Consult and get a “second opinion” before you part with your money.
3250 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1918
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 383-3222