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"(Chaikheeva) went to great lengths to rehearse me on what to say and how to pretend tears in front of the judge and to convince me that I could benefit greatly by doing this ... As I have found out since, she follows the same procedure with all of her 'clients.' Almost all are too afraid to testify against her." That's a Russian immigrant woman explaining to Arizona prosecutors how she was coached to bring a false claim of domestic violence against her new American husband. Why? Under VAWA, a finding that an immigrant who is married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is a victim of DV can get her permanent residency. As a practical matter, a woman can marry a man who is a U.S. citizen, divorce him, claim DV and get a green card. It's a handy shortcut to independent permanent residency. Not surprisingly, certain organizations have sprung up to help foreign women take advantage of just that provision in the law. The woman quoted at the first of this piece said she had gone to a place called the Shield Foundation of Phoenix and received the coaching she described. And apparently she's not the only one. This article quotes an immigration lawyer in the Phoenix area saying it's a common practice (KPHO, 4/29/09). He calls it "gaming the system." I emailed the Shield Foundation for their comments on the article. They called the allegations reported by KPHO "malicious and contrived," and "slanderous, defamatory and liable as to the persons making such statements."

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