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VAWA Loophole Creates Epidemic of Immigration Fraud

In his May 27, 2009 story "Former Agent Calls Sham Marriages 'Epidemic,'" CBS4 (Denver) investigator Brian Maass interviewed John Sampson, a former immigration investigator who "says he is seeing an 'epidemic' of fraudulent marriages where foreign women marry American men, then claim domestic violence to escape the marriage and legally remain in the U.S." Since January 2009, when Sampson set up a private business in Aurora, Colorado, he's been contacted by 200 men who say they were falsely accused of domestic violence by foreign women seeking green cards, which, under the Violence Against Women Act, they can get by simply claiming abuse.

According to Sampson, "What happens is they enter into a one-sided sham marriage to defraud an American citizen into believing they love him. And once they get in, they allege domestic violence to get themselves out of the sham marriage and to throw off suspicion this was a sham marriage to begin with."

In his opinion, "It's something completely different and pernicious and vile to seek out a U.S. citizen and run a scam by them and entice them into marrying them and not only abandoning and emotionally abusing them, but falsely accusing them of a heinous act. They allege the U.S. Citizen abused them somehow and file paperwork with (the U.S. government) ... and they're here to stay. They have an ace-high flush."

For the sake of balance, Maass also interviewed Laura Lichter, a Denver immigration attorney who believes that fraud marriages involving domestic violence allegations number 1% or less.

Maass' story appeared at the CBS4 website (http://cbs4denver.com/investigates/marriage.foreign.sham.2.1021765.html) and was the subject of a television piece (http://cbs4denver.com/video/?id=57682@kcnc.dayport.com).

Please contact Mr. Maass at and thank him for his coverage of the issue. Also share with him any personal anecdotes involving false allegations of domestic violence you may have. Please be brief and, as always, be polite.

Date of RADAR Release: June 3, 2009

R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org