Friday, February 29, 2008

Spousal Abuse Accusation: Ticket to Preferential ICE Treatment?

Domestic violence against immigrant brides presents a difficult policy question. Do we oblige the woman to prove her claim by competent evidence, in order to protect men from false accusations? Or, to prevent any further abuse, do we presume the truthfulness of her charges, and just write off any falsely accused men as collateral damage?

Writer Carey Roberts suggests the dilemma is intensified by the incentive for disloyal wives to falsely accuse their husbands in order to receive preferential treatment from Immigration & Customs Enforcement, and passes along the first-person account of a man who says he was victimized by his foreign wife and the presumption of guilt.

By Carey Roberts,

Each year the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and similar federal laws funnel $1 billion to help abused and battered women – or so we are led to believe. A good part of that money goes to immigrants who claim to be victims of domestic violence.

Last Fall I wrote a three-part exposé that revealed how an immigrant woman’s restraining order becomes a “gold-plated meal ticket that entitles her to preferential treatment by immigration authorities, free legal services, and a generous helping of welfare services.”

One woman whose father had been falsely accused of abuse and forced from his home wrote me, “I believe the Violence Against Women Act should be called the ‘Women Get What They Want Act.’”

Following those columns I received an unending stream of horror stories from persons falsely accused of domestic violence. One came from Sean Moffett of St. Paul, Minn. whose wife is from Guatemala. Soon after the wedding he discovered to his dismay that her real aim was different from what she had pledged in her wedding vows.

This is his story:

My wife’s family came to visit for a few months and they repeatedly attempted to provoke confrontations between my wife and me. Ultimately, my wife assaulted me by punching me in the neck. I did not hit my wife back or abuse her in any way.

I was arrested for 5th Degree Domestic Assault and spent three days in jail for a crime I did not commit and for not leaving my home under duress. While I was behind bars, my wife cleaned out the joint bank account.

I later learned that a legal aid group called Civil Society Helps had assisted with my wife’s abuse claims to expedite her immigration application. This outfit helps many immigrant women to file false abuse claims under the Violence Against Women Act.

Shortly after my release from jail, my wife asked me to write a letter to immigration stating I was an abusive husband. She promised if I wrote the letter she would help me get my home back.

Instead of allowing myself to be blackmailed, I wrote the Citizenship and Immigration Service to withdraw the petition for my wife’s U.S. residency. I used my last credit card to retain a lawyer to petition for divorce. At that point I was broke, homeless, and sleeping in my car and under my desk at the office.

The courts later granted my wife all of the marital property and ordered that I surrender to her a car that was titled in my name. To add insult to injury, the judge granted her a one year Order for Protection.

She then telephoned me several times, calling me an “abuser” real slow and sarcastically. Knowing how groups like the Civil Society work, I can only imagine how they coached my wife.

Several times my wife has been confronted by the Eagan, Minn. police for driving without a license. She was repeatedly given a warning, yet continued to drive the vehicle.

Later, I spoke with one of the officers and reminded him it is against the law for anyone to drive a motor vehicle without a license or insurance. His partner threatened to arrest me for allegedly creating a public disturbance. But I had done nothing wrong and they backed off when I informed them I had a witness looking on.

Last year I earned a very high salary, lived in a house by a lake, and enjoyed life as much as I could with a wife who didn’t love me. At age 36 I had no previous criminal history and had honorably completed four years of U.S. military service.

In three days, I was reduced to living in poverty and was homeless for weeks. I am no longer employable in my field due to my “criminal” history -- 5th degree domestic assault with no conviction. My house was recently foreclosed and I have lost everything.

Thanks to our VAWA laws and a series of outright lies by an immigrant residency-seeker, a law-abiding American citizen can be left penniless. All of your assets can be seized and given to the immigrant even if you are innocent of the charges.

The courts have violated my rights as an American citizen and I am alienated in my own country.

© 2008 Carey Roberts - All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

lejoy said...

Very interesting story. I am writing a book on immigration abuses. Mine is about abuses by US spouses married to green card seekers. I'd really love to dialogue with you on this.