US authorities pledge zero tolerance on visa fraud

by Ray Clancy on August 19, 2014

US authorities are emphasising that they will not hesitate to crack down on visa fraud and anyone found to be involved will be taken to court with risk of a prison sentence.

Officials have released details of some recent cases to show that individuals, businesses and people smugglers will not be tolerated.

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US authorities are reiterating that visa fraud will not be tolerated

In one of the latest, a Bulgarian man living in Maryland has been jailed for two years for visa fraud and fined $100,000.

American businesses are permitted to sponsor foreign workers to enter the United States lawfully under the H-2B visa programme, but Milen Radomirski undermined that programme by falsely vouching for hundreds of aliens who were not expected to comply with the terms of the visa.

From 2003 to August 2013, Radomirski worked for a pool service company in Maryland that provided lifeguards and pool maintenance in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. As part of his employment, he recruited international workers that his company could sponsor to work on short term visas.

From 2006 to2011, Radomirski’s company submitted applications for approximately 789 H-2B visas. The company certified to the US Department of Labour that it had not sought or received payment from the employee to obtain the visa.

Radomirski admitted that he fraudulently obtained more than 100 H-2B visas and he admitted that he charged visa applicants money in exchange for including them on his company’s petitions for H-2B visas.

Officials said that Radomirski knew that many of the visa beneficiaries would not work for his company at all, would only work at his company for a short period of time, or would work for other employers in addition to his company.

In another case, an investigation by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) led to the successful conviction of a marriage fraud ring. A Jamaican national, Nerene Erica Harrison, arrived in the US in 2007 on a temporary work visa and when it expired she offered Robert Cruz, a United States citizen, $6,000 to marry her. They were married in August 2011, and subsequently petitioned for Harrison to receive lawful permanent resident status based on the marriage. They now both face prison time.

In yet another case, Cassandra Hamilton has been sentenced to 15 months in jail for marriage fraud. She was involved in a conspiracy over several years involving 10 marriages. She arranged weddings between US and Jamaican citizens for the purpose of enabling the Jamaican citizens to obtain residency and citizenship and was paid for her work.

‘As an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, USCIS has zero tolerance for marriage fraud. Justice has been served with these convictions, and we remain vigilant in detecting and prosecuting any immigration fraud,’ said Ruth Dorochoff, USCIS Tampa District Director.

Susan McCormick, special agent in charge for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Tampa, said officials will to continue to work with others to protect the integrity of the country’s immigration system.

‘Hamilton conspired to circumvent and exploit our nation’s immigration laws for personal financial gain. Her crimes have also resulted in Jamaican nationals who are now permanently barred from obtaining lawful permanent status in the United States,’ she added.

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