DJ could lose visa
The Jamaican entertainer at the centre of a bribery case involving a former security official at the United States (US) Embassy in Kingston will automatically lose his American visa and could face criminal prosecution, a US-based attorney has revealed.
Dahlia Walker-Huntington, who practises immigration law in the state of Florida, told The Gleaner yesterday that the revelations made in a Virginia court by David Rainsberger, the former assistant regional security officer at the US Embassy, could also bar the entertainer from obtaining citizenship in the US.
"This person who is alleged to have bribed a US official did so to obtain a benefit and that is where the immigration fraud comes in," Walker-Huntington explained.
"Any visa that you obtain by fraud is not valid and any benefits you get from that fraud will be taken away," she emphasised.
DECLINED TO COMMENT
Yesterday, the US Embassy declined to comment on the visa status of the entertainer, whose identity has still not been released. The embassy referred queries to the US Attorney's Office in Virginia.
Rainsberger pleaded guilty on Wednesday to accepting two luxury watches valued at US$2,500 in exchange for helping the entertainer gain a visa to enter the US. He said he also received backstage passes to concerts, free admission and a birthday party hosted by the entertainer.
Walker-Huntington said because Rainsberger was employed in a very senior and sensitive position that will automatically trigger a wide-ranging probe by US authorities.
"He was put in a position of extreme trust … . To have violated that trust, you can rest assured that further investigation will take place to make sure it is a deterrent to US employees all over the world," she reasoned.
In a statement released yesterday, Yolonda Kerney, head of the Public Affairs Section at the embassy, seemed to echo Walker-Huntington's assertion.
"The government of the United States of America takes its own anti-corruption mandates seriously. No one is above the law, even embassy employees," Kerney said.
Walker-Huntington said if the entertainer is already in the US and marries an American citizen to obtain permanent residency, the fraud could become a major obstacle.
"To change your status, you must be in the US pursuant to lawful entry to be able to change your status, through marriage, from a visitor to an immigrant," she explained.