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23 Responses

  1. Rowan Crisp
    Rowan Crisp March 21, 2008 at 11:38 am |

    Bastard. BASTARD. He’s a goddamned immigrant himself.

  2. Holly
    Holly March 21, 2008 at 12:48 pm |

    This is just so incredibly gross — power-tripping, predatory (part of what he wanted from her was leads on MORE people who “needed his help?”), entitled, physically coercive… I hope he goes to jail for a long time. But sadly, it sounds from the article like this is far from an isolated incident. It’s like the goddamned unregulated contractors in Iraq — a grey area in which one organization and a lot of its flunkies can exercise way too much power with little oversight — except way closer to home, which maybe will prompt more alarm, but I could see a lot of people callously dismissing and dehumanizing women like the victim due to her situation.

  3. maatnofret
    maatnofret March 21, 2008 at 2:06 pm |

    It sounds like this has happened before, and the punishments are mere slaps on the wrist. Not to mention that her husband, the reason she came to the US in the first place, has apparently decided to blame her for what happened.

  4. Mnemosyne
    Mnemosyne March 21, 2008 at 2:15 pm |

    You know, you give low-level bureaucrats the power to decide if someone should be allowed to stay or be deported with no chance for appeal, and you’re going to get abuses. In fact, pretty much the entire way our immigration system is set up is to give INS/DHS employees a chance to exploit the people who are applying for green cards or citizenship.

    I’m sure that most people who work there are honest, but when you have loopholes you can drive a bus through with no prospect of punishment, people will take advantage.

  5. Astraea
    Astraea March 21, 2008 at 2:24 pm |

    Mnemosyne, that’s what I was thinking. That’s on top of the fact that they are in charge of making life-changing decisions for people who are extremely vulnerable because of the anti-immigrant paranoia. A solution has to be systemic. Individual, wimpy punishments aren’t going to do jack shit.

  6. bellatrys
    bellatrys March 21, 2008 at 2:55 pm |

    ObRef

    Annina: Monsieur Rick, what kind of a man is Captain Renault?

    Rick: Oh, he’s just like any other man, only more so.

    Annina: Oh, monsieur, you are a man. If someone loved you very much, so that your happiness was the only thing that she wanted in the world, but she did a bad thing to make certain of it, could you forgive her?

    Rick: Nobody ever loved me that much.

    Annina: And he never knew, and the girl kept this bad thing locked in her heart? That would be all right, wouldn’t it?

    Rick: You want my advice?

    Annina: Oh, yes, please.

    Rick: Go back to Bulgaria.

  7. eninnej
    eninnej March 21, 2008 at 3:56 pm |

    I’d like to know how it was determined that thousands of complaints about corruption in the immigration process were irrelevant. I find the discontinuation of the whistleblowing number and e-mail disturbing, not only because of Anne’s very good point that immigrants are going to be less inclined to trust any official agency after being victimized by an immigration official. By discontinuing the hotline, the agency is depriving itself of a tool that could identify potential problems, either with its processes or its people, before they advance to the stage of legal complaints. For instance, if a lot of complaints are coming in about someone, whether or not they’re legally actionable, that person should probably be looked at more closely. Stopping this source of information because of insufficient staff is a lousy excuse. This system is so broken.

  8. MJN
    MJN March 21, 2008 at 5:18 pm |

    In Atlanta, another adjudicator, Kelvin R. Owens, was convicted in 2005 of sexually assaulting a 45-year-old woman during her citizenship interview in the federal building, and sentenced to weekends in jail for six months.

    Why would abuse be endemic?

  9. ninjanurse
    ninjanurse March 21, 2008 at 6:20 pm |

    yeah. i was shocked at how light the sentences were. if i stole a pack of gum i’d probably do more time than that.

  10. Ethan
    Ethan March 22, 2008 at 12:05 am |

    You know, in a weird way, I’m glad to see this on the front page of the Times. Immigration officials, local cops, employers, and tons of other people commit crimes against immigrants with astounding frequency. Seeing one brave young woman fight back–and seeing the largest paper in the country give her the time of day–is a more positive outcome than I’m used to. It gives me hope that when these abuses come to light, the public actually gets outraged and demands justice.

  11. Regina
    Regina March 22, 2008 at 9:05 am |

    Immigration should not be restricted (except for criminals) to all those who want to come here. That would eliminate this problem. However, in the early years under such a policy, there would be a “flood” of poor young women from the Third World who would be seeking a better life for themselves and their current/future children. Given the subversive (repressed) feminist-despising mood of many of our fellow American men, these new female entrants would need to be “briefed” on their right to benefit from over 40 years of hard-won women’s rights. That is, the process of acclamation should direct all those women to not undermine the already delicate gender power balance by throwing themselves at American men like 1950’s housewives.

  12. little cabbage
    little cabbage March 22, 2008 at 9:28 am |

    Did you notice that at the very end of the article, she mentions that her husband is angry at her because of what happened and has left their home?

    “He was so mad at me, he left my house,” she said, near tears. “I don’t know if he’s going to come back.”

    Poor woman. She’s surrounded by assholes.

  13. Danakitty
    Danakitty March 22, 2008 at 2:02 pm |

    I live in Chicago and this really isn’t surprising to me. Hundreds of corrupt cops get away with abuse charges all the time — hell, some get away with murder. Literally.

    So this happening on a broader scale just… eh, yeah, it angers me, but I can’t say it shocks me at all. In America, you don’t even need wealth to control people’s lives. All you need is some kind of badge that puts you in a position of power. And then off you go, like a little wind-up toy of corruption!

  14. mythago
    mythago March 22, 2008 at 2:17 pm |

    I saw that too, little cabbage. Hopefully she’ll get her green card anyway without the asshole husband.

  15. Estella
    Estella March 23, 2008 at 1:32 am |

    If she is going to blow people for promising her a greencard her husband is right to get angry at her.

  16. Danakitty
    Danakitty March 23, 2008 at 8:18 pm |

    Estella … she wasn’t given much of a choice. Read the article.

  17. Bitter Scribe
    Bitter Scribe March 24, 2008 at 2:59 pm |

    It would serve this guy right if they revoked his citizenship.

  18. Are You Kidding?
    Are You Kidding? March 24, 2008 at 4:59 pm |

    The agent was totally out of line and if found guilty should be punished accordingly. However, to say that she had no choice is not correct. She
    did NOT have to blow the guy.
    No gun held to her head.
    She made a choice to do so and now has to face the unfortunate consequences,
    green card aside.

  19. Cecily
    Cecily March 24, 2008 at 9:26 pm |

    Woohoo! Finally a chance to trot out my “why sex under coercion is rape” argument.

    So, this usually starts somewhere different, like submission to intercourse under blackmail. But in this case, it’s oral sex. Okay. So you (“Are You Kidding?”) have already done the first part of my “why sex under coercion is rape” thought experiment. You’ve admitted that she “had to” submit if the perp held a gun to her head.

    Alright then, how about if he held a gun to her stomach? After all, there’s a good chance of surviving that if you get care.
    Her hand?
    Her knee?

    Are you starting to feel the inadequacy of your position to judge? It’s NOT your hand, your knee or your greencard that the gun is pointed at. You don’t know what the threat meant to the victim and you have no right to make the decision for her.

    She, however, has the right not to have to make that kind of decision, which this asshole abrogated.

    If anyone can listen to that tape, to her begging and pleading to be allowed to go, and him insisting it’s the only way to “know she’s serious”, and say she didn’t act under extreme duress, I’d be pretty shocked. The guy has irrational amounts of power and is unafraid of ruining her life in whatever way he can.

    ***

    On the larger recent question of the husband: I have to admit, I can think of a good reason for the husband to be mad. If my intimate partner went through something like this and didn’t ask for my help or tell me, I think anger and frustration would be pretty natural and I can’t blame someone for walking out under the initial onset of those emotions. If that’s the case, he isn’t necessarily a huge jerk and I hope he came back.

  20. Colombo
    Colombo March 24, 2008 at 10:00 pm |

    Visit any office of the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) near you. You’ll see how intimidated the applicants are by even the pettiest of functionaries. For example, everyone in the waiting room says “Good Morning” when one of these officials walks in! No wonder such transgressions happen. You know, “power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

    Perhaps we need a private intermediary between the INS and would-be immigrants. Like H&R Block or Jackson-Hewitt for the IRS. For a “small” fee, the customers can be frank without having to grovel. Whether or not an applicant’s case has any merit, he or she should be able to transact with the INS as if it were a mere bank or post office, not the Spanish Inquisition!

    As for this creep, I have seen way too many Charles Bronson movies to wait for legal justice. Instead, I hope that the Columbians in NYC are sufficiently offended by this insult to one of their own and take the law into their own hands.

    First Get Mr. Baichu to service several guys (in the same way he imposed himself on this woman) straight from the Larry Craig Lounge. Then dab his rear with the secretions from a mare in heat and then expose his nates to a stud horse raring to go (I’ll leave the technical details to experts). Just in case he enjoys the proceedings so far, gently roast his chestnuts with a plumber’s blow torch; when tender, spray muriatic acid by way of cooling things down. Finally, send him off with a “Columbian necktie” (I’ll let the gentle reader to look this one up).

    Back to the real world, I am surprised the victim has not sued the offender in civil court, for pain and suffering. Let’s face it: she was raped. Yes, she could have walked away, but put yourself in her position. Young, uneducated, facing a manipulative Edward G. Robinson look-alike. For the sake of argument, let’s say she was Baichu’s date; even then this would be a rape.

  21. Natalia
    Natalia March 25, 2008 at 11:17 am |

    This sort of thing really scares me, because although I am a citizen, my certificate of naturalization was lost when I moved houses, and I am very, very worried about the process I am going to have to go through in replacing it. There is so much abuse of power going on at all levels in that system that it’s frightening; immigration officials can act unreasonable if they want, and there is no one to stop them

    As as someone who has been subject to this system – I live in constant fear. I have been lucky so far, but as an immigrant, you hear all sorts of bad stories, and you never know whether or not you are next.

  22. Cecily
    Cecily March 26, 2008 at 6:40 am |

    Okay, I was trying not to be That Feminist that jumps on other feminists for tiny “infractions”…but I also expected a slew of posts to push this one off the front page. So I’ll ‘fess up: the title of this post bothers me. I don’t think the fact that she’s married changes the gravity of what the asshole did one iota, whereas the title seems to imply its worse because she’s married.

  23. anythings.org » The consequences of rape cover-ups

    [...] with stories relating to rapes that have been covered up by the military and KBR (and KBR, again), immigration officials, and many more. The coverage of rape myths has continued to remain popular, despite the thousands [...]

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