Local News

Green card scam victims fight deportation

Posted February 9, 2010

— Luis and Sandra Vulcan are citizens of Venezuela but have been living in the United States for about 10 years.

They work and worship at Grace Bible Fellowship Church, at 9043 Chapel Hill Road in Cary. Luis Vulcan is an associate pastor, and wife Sandra is the church’s administrator.

Even though their visas are valid, the couple discovered a year ago that they were in the country illegally.

“My heart was pumping when I saw and heard what he (immigration official) was saying to us. It was devastating,” Sandra Vulcan said.

In the late 1990s, the couple was working as missionaries in Venezuela. Church friends introduced them to a man they thought was an immigration attorney from Florida.

The attorney said a church in Florida could sponsor them for green cards. He filed cases for them with the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in 2000.

“We paid him about $12,000,” Luis Vulcan said.

But the Vulcans later learned that the man who promised to help them legally obtain U.S. citizenship was in jail for fraud. Federal agents told them their green cards were denied.

Now, the couple could soon be deported.

“This is the most tragic situation I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been practicing law in this area for over 20 years,” said Gerry Chapman, the Vulcans’ new attorney.

Chapman said it's a hard case to win on the legal merits.

“This is just one of those cases where we think they deserve special consideration in view of who they serve and the kind of work they do and the suffering they've already had to go through,” he said.

Members of Grace Bible Fellowship Church said they hope something can be done to keep the Vulcans in the U.S.

“Their story is devastating, and it's devastating to our church family,” Senior Pastor Norman Peart said.

WRAL News contacted immigration officials about the case and were told Monday that it was being looked into. A hearing on the couple’s deportation status is scheduled for March 3 in Charlotte.


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  • mad_dash Feb 10, 2010

    These people are full of it! Send them back to where they came from.. and find out why this church didnt think anything was Illegal with them when they were paying them for so many years!

  • Groogrux Feb 10, 2010

    If they had a valid visa at some point (which it sounds like they did) they would have been eligible for social security numbers. So they might not have been using TIN.

  • affirmativediversity Feb 9, 2010

    If there is no statute of limitations on immigration violations then perhaps there should be? per Vietnam Vet


    If they are still in the USA illegally then any statute of limitations hasn't even begun yet because they are REMAIN in the commission of a crime!

  • affirmativediversity Feb 9, 2010

    Vietnam Vet:

    I guess that is in where we differ... YOU believe their story...I don't!

    I find it uncredible that they just magically entered the USA and have stayed for 10 years without a realizing they NEVER WENT NEAR ANY DEPARTMENT OF IMMIGRATION?

    These are people who had $12,000.00 to pay an attorney...so they weren't exactly WITHOUT RESOURCES? How did they ORIGINALLY enter the USA? Which port...was their passport stamped...when asked (AND YOU ARE ALWAYS ASKED) "how long will you be here" did they answer "WE'RE STAYING"????
    How about their Social Security Numbers? When did they receive those OR their "greencards" for that matter...did they show either WHEN ENTERING THE COUNTRY?

    I could go on and on...but to put it simply, over the course of 10 years it would be next to impossible for them not to have realized!!!!!!

  • NCSULandscaper Feb 9, 2010

    trying to be legal and being legal are 2 different things. The law is the law and everyone should have the same consequence to the law if its broken. They need to go back because anyone else would also be sent back.

  • jwll24 Feb 9, 2010

    OK, Illegal is the fact here. They have know they were illegal for years. According to the Law they are criminals at this time and should be deported asap. If we let this pass under the table then how many more will be passed under the table. You know this is the land of the free and buddy do we give it all away free to illegals. If they were such christians then they would have done everything to make sure they were going by the laws. Scam artist is what they are. I feel no passion for a liar and theif and that my friend is what they have been doing. Law are Laws, Sorry go home we dont need you here and all my tax money you have been living off of is just about ran out.

  • Vietnam Vet Feb 9, 2010

    affirmativediversity: I do understand the concept of ILLEGAL alien however these people in good faith believed they were following the rules and obtaining legal status. It is not their fault they were scammed by an unscroupulous attorney. Because they acted in good faith and have been productive citizens of this country I believe that leniency is in order here. If there is no statute of limitations on immigration violations then perhaps there should be?

  • affirmativediversity Feb 9, 2010

    Vietnam Vet:

    What part of ILLEGAL Alien did you not understand? I assume it wasn't your Social Security Number they've been using for 10 years to work, file taxes, get credit ect?

    Do you really believe that because they have got away with their CRIMINAL behavior for 10 years it should be ignored? If that's the case...how long does a CRIMINAL MIGRANT have to elude detection in order to earn your ignorance?

  • Vietnam Vet Feb 9, 2010

    With the flood of illegal immigrants entering this country on a daily basis and the government is picking on these people why??? These folks have proven to be otherwise law abiding and productive people in this country for the last 10 years...hello?? Where's the problem here??

  • affirmativediversity Feb 9, 2010

    They may have used TIN numbers that IRS issues for non resident taxpayers per James27613


    If that's the case then they, obviously, knew they were ILLEGAL!!!