Skip to main content

Officer charged with demanding sex for green card

  • Story Highlights
  • Authorities: Isaac Baichu, an immigration officer, asked woman to meet him privately
  • Documents: Baichu demanded sex two times for his help with green card
  • Woman was recording the encounter with her cell phone, reported New York Times
  • An Immigrant advocate says immigrants are at the mercy of immigration officials
  • Next Article in Crime »
By Ashley Broughton
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- A U.S. immigration screening officer faces felony charges for allegedly demanding and receiving oral sex from a woman seeking a green card, according to authorities and court documents.

Isaac Baichu, 46, was arrested last week. According to charging documents filed in Queens County, New York, criminal court, Baichu met with the woman and her husband regarding her green card application and initially told her there were no problems. However, he asked for her telephone number in case he needed to reach her.

The woman told authorities Baichu soon called her and said he wanted to meet with her alone, in a location other than his office, to "discuss matters," court documents said. He also informed the woman that "she needed him and that she had to work with him."

The two met in December in the man's car, and during that meeting, the man told her that "in return for assisting her in her green card application, the complainant must have sex with him at least two times," according to the documents. The woman said she tried to leave the car, but, documents said, Baichu grabbed her and forced her to perform oral sex on him.

She told authorities "that she feared that if she did not comply with the defendant's demand ... the defendant would use his position as a public servant to cause her green card to be denied," according to court documents.

The New York Times, which first reported the case, said in a story Friday the 22-year-old Colombian woman was recording the encounter with her cell phone, and that she later approached the Times and prosecutors with the recording.

"I want sex," the man identified as Baichu says on the recording, posted on The New York Times Web site. "One or two times. That's all. You get your green card. You won't have to see me anymore."

Baichu's attorney, Sally Attia, told CNN, "we're denying any wrongdoing at the moment. There are always two sides to a story."

Don't Miss

  • 'Green-card Marine' serves in Iraq

She questioned why the woman would meet Baichu and plan to record him if she was going to be forced to do anything inappropriate, and alleged the woman is seeking a "U-visa," which provides a form of legalization for immigrants who are victims of crimes or are cooperating with a criminal investigation.

Charging documents, however, said that in a recorded conversation March 11, Baichu told the woman her file was complete, but he would call her a few days before she received the letter. The woman asked if she would have to do anything, the documents said, and authorities heard Baichu say "just like the last time, and it would only take a minute."

The woman told Baichu that she loves her husband and that she was uncomfortable, court documents said, but Baichu told her "this was business, not love, and that if he were her, he would do it in a minute." He also offered to take her to a garage, a friend's real estate business or to a bathroom if she would be more comfortable there, according to the documents.

CNN is not naming the woman because authorities believe she is the victim of a sexual assault.

Baichu's employer, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, "has absolutely no tolerance for employee misconduct," spokesman Peter Vietti said Friday.

At least two immigration authorities have been convicted on criminal charges in recent years.

• In 2005, Kelvin Renard Owens, 34, of Jonesboro, Georgia, pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual assault and was sentenced to serve every weekend in a federal jail for six months, as well as five years' probation, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta, Georgia. Owens, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employee, grabbed and sexually assaulted a 45-year-old woman during a citizenship interview, prosecutors said.

• Earlier this month, Lloyd W. Miner, 49, of Hyattsville, Maryland, was sentenced to a year in prison, according to federal prosecutors. Miner, the assistant chief of investigations for internal affairs at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' Office of Security and Investigations, was convicted in December 2007 of harboring an illegal alien and encouraging and inducing an illegal alien to reside in the United States. The immigrant in question, according to court documents, was Miner's girlfriend, Tsomorlig Batjargal, 21, of Mongolia. She was sentenced to one month in prison for conspiring to commit fraud with identification documents. A statement from prosecutors earlier this month said proceedings were under way to return her to Mongolia.

Immigrant advocate Michelle Brane said such conduct is not unusual. Immigrants, she said, are vulnerable and at the mercy and disposal of immigration officials.

In 2006 testimony before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims, former U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Michael J. Maxwell said, "The temptations for employees of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to commit crime are constant. Employees work in an atmosphere that permits -- and often encourages -- the waiving of rules. It is only a small step from granting a discretionary waiver of an eligibility rule to asking for a favor or taking a bribe in exchange for granting that waiver."

As of July 2006, Maxwell testified, the backlog of misconduct complaints against these employees was more than 3,000. More than 500 of those alleged criminal violations, he said.

Vietti, however, noted that of that 3,000, only 11 percent, or about 330, were shown to be allegations of employee misconduct. The rest, he said, were routine inquiries as to status of an immigration application. An e-mail address was posted on the agency's Web site for complaints of employee misconduct, he said, and "people that had applied for benefits and immigration services were going right to this channel." Staffers then had to "weed through a lot" to discover complaints, he said.

The e-mail address is no longer posted on the site for that reason, Vietti said. The agency works closely with the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, and complaints are channeled to the inspector general's hot line number, he said.

As of Friday, the agency had 165 open investigations into allegations of employee misconduct, he said. The agency lists 15,000 federal employees and contractors around the world.

The U-visa program -- or the "U" nonimmigrant classification -- was created in 2000 as part of an effort to strengthen authorities' ability to investigate and prosecute cases such as domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of aliens and other crimes while offering protection to victims of such crimes, Vietti said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Jim Acosta and Brian Vitagliano contributed to this report.

All About ImmigrationU.S. Department of Homeland Security

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print