For more than a year a US immigration agent posed as a corrupt official willing to help illegal Brazilians living in the United States to get their documents including a green card, for a price. For dozens of them however all they got for their money was an order of arrest and sure deportation.
The sting, which was started in July of last year was revealed by Globo TV's Sunday variety program "Fantástico." The immigration plot counted on an agent infiltrated inside the Brazilian community in Boston and rumors spread by the American authorities themselves that a bad cop was willing to deliver the goods.
One of the Brazilians caught in the scheme told about his experience: "The guy said that he was an immigration agentÂ and that the only thing he was doing wrong was to get the documents outside the immigration department."
The 27 Brazilians implicated in the case were promised legal papers, which would allow them not only to work and to live in the US without fearing deportation but also visit Brazil as many times as they wished.
At the end of the negotiations the illegals got inside a bus for what they thought would be a trip to get their green card. Instead they received their papers inside the vehicle as soon as they gave the last part of the payment.
At that moment about 20 immigration agents who were hiding inside a postal service truck parked nearby entered the bus and started handcuffing the Brazilians. From there they were all taken to the police station.
The ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents didn't make things easy or cheap to those Brazilian willing to illegally obtain their papers. Each was asked to pay a total of US$ 13,000 in three installments: US$ 2,000 as down payment, US$ 4,000 to get their work permit and finally US$ 7,000 for the green card.
Many more Brazilians than those arrested were drawn to the scheme but ended up quitting during the process.
Among those entrapped was Wirlei Gonçalves Dias, 31, who had emigrated from Minas Gerais state. He was living illegally for more than a decade in the US and had worked as a cook and in construction. Dias had just started his own painting business where his brother Walace, another illegal, was also working.
Peter Krupp, the lawyer who is defending the Brazilians criticized the immigration agents for what he calledÂ "entrapment," but said he doesn't intend to challenge the ICE for that. Instead he plans to plead guilty and try to get their clients as soon as possible back in Brazil far form the American justice.
Some Brazilians are in jail awaiting deportation. A few have paid US$ 14,000 in bail and will be able to wait for their trial in liberty.