Sunday, August 16, 2009
Dan Frosch writes in the NY Times:
For $2,800, Silvia Alfaro said, a well-known immigration lawyer in Salt Lake City promised that her husband would get a green card and her family a shot at their American dream.
Ms. Alfaro, a United States citizen, said she told the lawyer, James Hector Alcala, that her husband, Leonel, had lived illegally in this country for 17 years and once was deported. Mr. Alcala promised to take care of everything, she recalled, and he said her husband was a good man.
But when, at the lawyer’s urging, Mr. Alfaro showed up last April at a federal immigration office in Salt Lake City for an interview for a green card, he was immediately taken into custody. The next day he was on a plane back to Mexico.
“I felt completely destroyed,” said Ms. Alfaro, 30. “I am positive Alcala lied to me and stole from me.”
On July 28, federal law enforcement and immigration officials gathered in Salt Lake to announce the indictment of Mr. Alcala, 41, on charges that since 2005 he had orchestrated a huge immigration fraud operation out of his local law office.
Among other things, they said, he promised American companies thousands of temporary work papers, known as H-2B visas, for employees who were living in this country illegally and therefore not eligible for the documents. At one point Mr. Alcala grew so brazen he used the names of professional Mexican soccer players to apply for the visas, said Jonathan Lines, who oversees investigations in Utah for United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Click here for the rest of the story.