Elena Maria Lopez is a former political journalist and financial writer. She developed the nasty habit of chain-smoking cigars during her divorce by justifying it as her “Buddhist breathing technique.” (In reality, she was trying to cope with undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder - PTSD.)
Educated at Rutgers University in public policy and politics, she has advanced training in finance. Lopez's divorce lawyer also trained her in legal research to help her fight her pending marriage annulment case in civil court, a difficult and rare avenue for victims of marriage fraud.
In 2003, she launched the very first Web site on the Internet about immigration fraud. While many of the initial people contacting her were victims, she soon had high-ranking members of congress, the Department of Homeland Security, the F.B.I., think tanks, attorneys and journalists contacting her for data, research and national security trends. She offered a free legal guide to help fraud victims understand the immigration process and protect their interests. (Divorce attorneys know next to nothing about immigration law; Immigration lawyers don’t want marriage fraud victims to set legal precedents and often refuse to help them.)
She was eventually diagnosed and treated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Developing PTSD was not only a reaction to her husband’s repeated attacks, but the refusal of congressional members, bureaucrats and various levels of law enforcement to protect her from a violent man that mental-health professionals described as a sociopath.
Now divorced, Lopez lives in hiding. The State of New Jersey issued her a special protected address, something reserved for domestic violence victims in serious danger.
In 2016, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials warned her to protect herself from "the dangerous man" she had married and sponsored into the United States. In March 2017, she testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about her case, lax citizen protections and DHS incompetence. In June 2017, a DHS investigator admitted the government refused to even investigate her former husband's immigration case. In December 2017, the DHS admitted it gave out her sensitive personal information as part of at least two different data breaches.
Luckily, Lopez has since quit chain-smoking cigars ... but is leaving it open as a viable option thanks to increased stress and continued government incompetence.