While Americans finally wake up to the illegal immigration epidemic that has infected our nation for decades, via rampant news reporting of the thousands of children that recently have been apprehended attempting to enter the United States illegally through Mexico, a story even more telling of the immigration problem has gone largely unnoticed: that of Gabriela Rosa.
Last month Rosa, a New York State Assemblywoman representing the Upper Manhattan neighborhoods of Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill (the latter is geographically linked with the Bronx but politically part of Manhattan), pled guilty to committing immigration fraud. Namely, the Dominican-born Rosa entered into a sham marriage for the purposes of attaining legal permanent residence and, in turn, U.S. citizenship.
As I have written time again, there is no such thing as an “illegal immigrant” – despite the insistence of much of the American media to continue to use that term.
By its legal definition, an “immigrant” is a person who has gone through the legal process to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). One such way is by marrying an American citizen. A LPR, after a period of years, may apply to become a citizen, and gain additional advantages, such as the ability to hold political office.
Such was the case with Rosa – except that her marriage to the unidentified American citizen was a sham to begin with – she paid him $8,000 in exchange for his “I do” utterance.
Her legal permanent residency, ensuing citizenship, and qualification to hold public office, therefore, were all built on a lie. The correct term to describe Gabriela Rosa is “illegal alien.”
So, while it seems that a wrongdoer has been apprehended and the matter is solved, there are a bunch of questions to which we ought to demand answers:
Why is the identity of Rosa’s first husband, the one who accepted $8,000 from her, being withheld? Obviously, by accepting the money, he knowingly committed immigration fraud, too. That means he should go to jail as well – but at the very least, his name ought to be revealed.
What is the immigration status of Rosa’s second husband? As the New York Daily News reports, Rosa entered into the sham marriage with the unnamed citizen in 1996, while she was in a relationship with her now-current husband.
The U.S. District Court that adjudicated the case simply referred to the two men as “Spouse 1” and “Spouse 2.” Assuming, then, that her relationship with Spouse 2 was genuine – considering she is still married to him – one would have to assume that Spouse 2 was not an American citizen. Otherwise, he could have sponsored Rosa’s immigration petition; she would not have had to commit a federal crime and shell out $8,000 to Spouse 1 in the process.
In that case, if Spouse 2 is now an actual immigrant (i.e., a legal permanent resident or even a citizen), did he obtain that status by virtue of being married to “American citizen” Gabriela Rosa? If so, then his status was obtained on false premises.
If he knew about those false premises (remember, he was romantically involved with Rosa while she entered into the sham marriage with Spouse 1), then Spouse 2 is guilty of a whole bunch of things, too – and his immigration status is invalid. He, too, could very well be an illegal alien.
What happens to Rosa now? Rosa’s immigration fraud will result in jail time, but how much? And what happens after her prison sentence is over? Will she be deported? If not, why not? Keep in mind, she has a 14 year-old son. Assuming he was born in the United States, then he is an American citizen by birth regardless of his mother’s (or father’s) immigration status.
The only exception to citizenship birthright is if one of the parents is an “enemy of the United States.” For instance, if Osama bin Laden had a child born in the United States. But even though the son can stay, what happens to his mother (or, his father if he, too, is an illegal alien)?
Did Rosa use her fraudulently-obtained immigration status to sponsor other aliens? As an American citizen, Rosa had the opportunity to sponsor parents, children, or siblings to become legal permanent residents. Did she do so? In that case, they might be illegal aliens, too.
Do you see the problem? Do you see the infectious epidemic? Do you see how our society is so helplessly porous to the illegal invasion? The News quotes Rosa’s neighbor as saying: “That’s a stupid thing,” [but] look at all the problems out here in our community – drugs, prostitution – and her marriage is what they are focusing on?”
Rosa herself, though acknowledging what she did was wrong, nonetheless defended herself: “I didn’t get rich out of my position. I didn’t take any bribes. I didn’t do none of the things that usually you are very used to seeing in the other guys that get in this situation.”
NOTE: If she “didn’t do none of the things” (a double negative), apparently she did some, or at least one, of the things.
Granted, bad grammar is certainly not limited to illegal aliens – in fact, millions of native-born Americans do not speak correctly – but that speaks to another issue regarding lax citizenship requirements that she would have been subjected to if they were in place, even before it was discovered that she was not qualified to be a citizen.
I’ve been harsh on Rosa throughout this column, and rightfully so. But in her defense, in the universe of horrific crimes, hers is not so bad.
She didn’t kill anyone, or rape, maim, torture, kidnap, or assault anyone. She simply wanted to be part of a country she wasn’t lucky enough to be born in. Like trying to sneak in to the Super Bowl without a ticket.
So, I really don’t blame her so much as the security guards at the stadium, and the lax ushers inside who don’t do enough spotchecks of the folks in the seats.