Norcross state senator's wife faces deportation

In the last legislative session, Sen. Curt Thompson had to deal with new immigration laws.

Now, the Norcross Democrat is struggling with his own immigration saga.

Thompson answered his door Tuesday to find Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, who said his bride is facing deportation.

In a quiet ceremony in April, Thompson married Sascha Herrera, a 27-year-old from Colombia.

"I think she hung the moon," Thompson said over the phone Friday as he began crying.

He declined to talk about the situation, instead directing questions to his immigration attorney Charles Kuck.

Kuck said he plans to file a motion Monday to reopen Herrera's deportation case. He says the woman is a victim of fraud.

When her six-month visitor's visa was set to expire in 2004, Herrera contacted a man she believed to be an immigration attorney.

He offered to help her apply for asylum, and even offered to marry her, Kuck said. Disgusted with the proposal, Herrera declined, her attorney said.

When she was accepted to a master's degree program at Kennesaw State University, the school secured a student visa for her.

In the meantime, though, the man had applied for asylum against Herrera's wishes, Kuck said. She never received notification of a hearing, and when she didn't attend, ICE issued a deportation order.

Believing she had a valid student visa, Herrera applied for a green card after her wedding. Both Thompson and Herrera were unaware of the problem until Tuesday, Kuck said.

"This is truly a nightmare caused by this guy that defrauded her," Kuck said. "The tragic part of this, is this is not a unique story."

As of Friday evening, Herrera had not turned herself in to immigration officials. Kuck said Thompson's role on the State Senate would not cause him to get special treatment, but people who are seeking to reopen a deportation case are typically released until the case is resolved.

No charges in

R.E. Lee snafu

Loganville's district attorney hasn't solved the case of R.E. Lee, but he hasn't given up the effort.

Ken Wynne, who is the top prosecutor for the Alcovy Judicial Circuit, issued a press release Friday saying he hasn't been able to find out who issued campaign fliers under the name of the Confederate general to residents during the election season this summer.

"At this time, all leads have been exhausted, and there is insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges in this matter at this time," Wynne wrote.

He noted that the statue of limitations does not include the period of time in which the culprit is unknown, and the investigation is still considered open.

In October, Mayor Tim Barron, Councilmen Mark Kiddoo, Chuck Bagley and Ray Nunley. who were the subjects of the negative flier, took polygraph tests for the investigation. All four were re-elected.

In Gwinnett, two political operatives were indicted on charges of failing to follow campaign laws in a negative campaign against Commissioner Kevin Kenerly.

The trial for Bill McKinney and Nancy Walter was postponed so attorneys could appeal motions to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.