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Friday, December 08, 2006

They Wanted a Woonsocket Wedding

Some town clerks in Rhode Island are helping to investigate schemes in which U.S. citizens are paid to marry illegal immigrants. Woonsocket City Clerk Pauline Payeur has issued hundreds of sham marriage certificates, all the while keeping the authorities apprised.

Two years ago, she noticed couples flooding into her office to get married, and they were all coming from Worcester. "They're going by 20 town halls from here to Worcester, and they choose Woonsocket?" Payeur exclaimed. "Obviously they must have been trying to hide something."
[R]ight after receiving their licenses, the couples would call in a Woonsocket judge and get married on the spot, wherever they could find a space.

"It was ridiculous," Payeur said, sitting in her small office. "They'd get married right in the hallway, or at first they were right in here. After a while, we said, 'This is not a wedding chapel.' The phones would be ringing, I'd have two witnesses and the bride and the groom and the judge standing here. I mean, I'm a nice person, but after a while, I got to say!" [Link]

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