WARNING: This post contains images of an adult nature
DARLENE JONES HAD worked for Chicago’s United States Citizenship and Immigration offices since December, 2001. And she thought that she could tell the pretenders from the real thing, but the couple seated off to her left had her stumped. They looked like the real thing. And They felt like the real thing to her. None-the-less, she pressed the silent alarm button under her counter as she’d been instructed. And in a matter of minutes, her supervisor, Bill Bennett, was standing by her side.
“They’re here,” he asked.
“Yes,” answered Darlene, nodding her head in the couple’s direction.
“When I escort them into the interview room, I want you to call ICE and have them standing by.”
“Mr. and Mrs. Juan Carlos Rodriguez,” a gruff voice called.
“Here,” responded Juan.
“Mr. and Mrs. Juan Carlos Rodriguez,” a squat round nearly bald headed man asked.
“Yes,” Eleanor and Juan, answered in unison.
“You’re here to file for an Adjustment of Statues due to a recent marriage. Is that correct,” the man asked, flipping through forms on a clipboard.
“Follow me this way, please,” he ordered, without making eye contact with either Eleanor or Juan. He took them down a short hallway to where there was a row of glass fronted offices. Another man, in his late thirties, and a severe looking dark-haired White woman were already sitting in the office.
“Please have a seat,” the gruff man said. Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez, for the record, as we’re recording this, my name is Bill Bennett, and with me today, for this interview, are Special Agent Paul Yates of the FBI. And Department of Homeland Security, Agent Rebecca Shaw.
“Before we can begin, I need to place the two of you under oath. Please stand up, Raise your right hands. Do you, Juan Carlos Rodriguez and you Eleanor Rodriguez, swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
Eleanor felt that same sense of foreboding that she’d felt when she first saw Juan Carlos in Whole Foods. But in spite of the feeling, she said, “I do.”
The right side of Juan’s face twitched with guilt. His Catholic upbringing, against lying, collided head-on with his worldly desire for self-survival and pulled at his conscious. Because he knew without a shadow of doubt that he was doing wrong and that he should immediately fess up. But, he, too, said, “I do.”
“OK. Please sit down,” stated Bill Bennett. “So, OK, Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez, I see that you’ve only been married a few days. Was your marriage prompted because Mr. Rodriguez’s Green Card is about to expire?”
Eleanor had that feeling again. And in spite of the fact that it was October and the ambient temperature of the room in which they sat was about sixty-two degrees, felt a bead of perspiration slide from her armpits down to her waist. She turned and looked at Juan who was looking like he was about to lose his breakfast.
“Yes, it was. But at the same time, no,” stated Eleanor. “It was the thought of his returning to Mexico and never seeing him again, that made me realize how much I love him. So, I asked him to marry me.”
“Let me get this right. You asked Mr. Rodriguez to marry you,” Mr. Bennett asked.
Bennett and FBI Agent Yates exchanged looks.
Agent Shaw, who had been sitting quietly to the right of Bennett asked, “Mr. Rodriguez your Work Permit application states that you were born in San Angel, a neighborhood of Mexico City, and have a full Professorship at The National Autonomous University of Mexico. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” Juan answered, meekly.
“And Mrs. Rodriguez – Eleanor – you were born and raised here in Chicago and you work as a Medical Biller and Coder for Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Is that correct?”
Neither Juan nor Eleanor noticed that Agent Shaw had successfully diverted their attention from the two men in the room who had their heads together, discussing Eleanor’s previous answer.
“Mrs. Rodriguez are you sure that this marriage was your idea,” Agent Yates asked. “Are you sure you weren’t forced or cajoled in any way to marry Mr. Rodriguez?”
“Yes. The marriage was my idea because I love my husband very much and I want him to remain in the United States.”
“I wonder if you’d change your mind about that statement if you knew that defrauding the US Government, in an effort to obtain a Green Card, carries very severe consequences.”
“I have no reason to defraud the US Government. I love my husband,” Eleanor said, reaching across and taking Juan’s hand.
Agent Rebecca Shaw, who’d been holding a set of folders, reached over and placed one of the folders on Bennett’s desk. Bennett opened the folder, flipped a few of the pages inside – his eyebrow arching – closed it and shoved it across the desk to Eleanor.
“Mrs. Rodriguez, would you please open the folder and examine its contents.”
Shaw, an experienced agent, a wife, and mother, watched Eleanor’s expression with the intensity of an English Setter watching a felled duck falling from the sky.
Eleanor’s mouth dropped open.
“Mrs. Rodriguez, it that you in those photos?”
Curios, Juan leaned over so that he could see exactly what the agent had shown Eleanor. Shocked, he snatched the folder out of Eleanor’s trembling hands.
“Mrs. Rodriguez, I’m waiting for your answer.”
Eleanor’s whole body was shaking. But not from fear. It was pure rage. She’d been set-up.
“You know damn well it’s not.”
“So, Mr. Rodriguez,” Agent Shaw said, turning to Juan. “Can I assume that’s you in those pictures and that you’re having an affair with Willow Meyers, the wife of Mr. David Meyers, who lives next door to you and your new wife.”
Juan was speechless. Blindsided by a vengeful husband.
“Mr. and Mrs. Rodriquez, please stand up and put your hands behind your backs.”
“What,” they asked in unison.
“Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez, you’re both being arrested for committing marriage fraud against the United States Government for the purposes of obtaining a Green Card.”
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