Did George Santos marry a woman to help her get US citizenship?

Rep. George Santos
Rep. George Santos Photo: U.S. House

A lawyer has requested that the House Ethics Committee look into out gay Rep. George Santos’s (R-NY) marriage to a woman that lasted seven years.

In December, as holes were being poked in Santos’s life story by several media organizations’ investigations into his past, The Daily Beast reported that Santos finalized a divorce in 2019 from a woman named Uadla Vieira Santos just 12 days before he filed the official paperwork for his first, failed congressional campaign. Not much was known about her or why Santos – who was part of Rio’s drag scene in the late 2000s, was a prominent “Gays for Trump” advocate in the late 2010’s, identifies as gay and says he is married to a man – would have married a woman and then divorced her and never mentioned her in public.

Former federal prosecutor and LGBTQ+ advocate Malcolm Lazin also wants to know, and he filed a request with the House Ethics Committee to look into the marriage. He suggests that the marriage was a sham – numerous media reports have shown that Santos was actively dating men during the seven years he was married to Vieira Santos – and that they married so that she could obtain U.S. citizenship through Santos.

Lazin cites the fact that the two appear to have lived completely separate lives for this time period. Santos was living with boyfriends and roommates in Queens for the past decade, often allegedly stealing from them and then getting evicted. None of his former roommates or exes who have talked to the press have mentioned Santos being married to a woman who currently owns a $750,000 house in Union County, New Jersey.

In 2014, Santos filed an immigration petition for his then-wife on the basis of their marriage. It was approved that year, and she was granted conditional residence. Two years later, Vieira Santos filed to remove the conditions on her immigration status, and in 2017 she became a permanent U.S. resident. In 2022, she became a U.S. citizen.

Also in 2022, she petitioned to sponsor her new husband, who is from Brazil as well.

If her marriage to Santos gets investigated and authorities find enough evidence that their marriage only existed on paper in order to help Vieira Santos get citizenship, she could be deported, her new husband couldn’t get residency in the U.S., and Santos could face up to five years in prison.

In a December 2022 interview, after the Daily Beast report was published, Santos said that he was “in love” with his ex-wife but that they got married too young.

“I did marry young, and I married a young woman at the time, and we pretty much were in love,” he told City & State. He said that he came out and ended the relationship. “I set myself free and I set her free.”

But those statements don’t square with what former roommates and boyfriends have said about him, that he has identified as gay ever since he was an adult and that he was openly dating men for years.

The statements also contradict what he told USA Today in October 2022: “I am openly gay, have never had an issue with my sexual identity in the past decade, and I can tell you and assure you, I will always be an advocate for LGBTQ folks.” He married Vieira Santos about ten years before that interview.

One of his exes, Pedro Vilarva, said that Santos proposed to him in 2014, the same year Santos was filing immigration paperwork for his then-wife based on their marriage. Santos even planned an engagement party with Vilarva.

“Good evening everyone! As you all may already know Pedro and I have decided to join our toothbrushes! Lol and a very few friends have been selected to share this special moment with us!” a Facebook invitation for the 2014 party read. Both Vilarva and former roommate Greg Morey-Parker confirmed that Santos planned the party.

But Vilarva said the party never happened because, despite Santos proposing to him three times, he never accepted. He said that he lived with Santos until he found out about Santos’s run-ins with the law in Brazil over fraudulent checks Santos allegedly wrote.

“Anthony had more boyfriends than I can remember!” Morey-Parker said about Santos, who used to go by the name Anthony Devolder.

Another former roommate, Yasser Rabello, said that he didn’t know about Santos’s then-wife when they lived together in 2013 and 2014, only finding out this past December when the story made headlines. He said that he was introduced to her once but she was identified as “a friend” and that she lived in Astoria.

Lazin’s request is one of many filed against Santos with the House Ethics Committee. They are also being asked to investigate numerous possible irregularities in Santos’ campaign’s fundraising and reporting, as well as a claim that he sexually harassed a staffer in his first week in office in January.

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