As an immigration attorney, I often come across some unique characters who try to use U.S. immigration law to their advantage, and, in some cases, they are successful. One figure who has gained some notoriety in recent weeks is John McAfee, the founder of the very successful internet security company McAfee. A few weeks ago he was named a person of interest in a murder by the Belize government. He fled from his home in Belize to Guatemala, where he asked for political asylum, but was instead arrested for entering the country in violation of its immigration laws.
At the time of his arrest, McAfee displayed signs of physical distress and was hospitalized. He later disclosed that he faked the heart attack in order to buy some time and avoid deportation back to Belize. Following his hospitalization, he was deported back to the United States.
This series of events supposedly began in April 2011, when the Belize government accused McAfee of running a methamphetamine lab and sent 42 armed soldiers to his residence. Then in November of 2011, his neighbor Gregory Faull, also a U.S. businessman, was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head. The Belize government has not formally charged McAfee but do wish to question him.
Much of the controversy around John McAfee stems from the accusations that he and the Belize government have directed towards each other. McAfee says that his troubles stem from refusing to pay local gangsters and corrupt government officials more than $2 million. He goes on to state that the murder of his neighbor may have been a botched attempt on his life, and the killers may have accidentally killed Faull believing him to be McAfee.
In response, the Prime Minister of Belize has called McAfee “bonkers.” They do confirm that the Belize police entered his residence in search of drugs but did not find any. They allege McAfee may have killed Faull in retaliation for an argument over Faull’s two dogs, which were found dead prior to their owner’s murder.
Luckily for McAfee he possesses dual citizenship in the United States and the United Kingdom, where he was born. He has stated publicly that he wants to resume his life in the U.S. with his two girlfriends, 20 year old and 17 year old natives of Belize, but if the U.S. refuses to provide them with visas, McAfee has stated he will relocate with them to England. He has reported in the media that his substantial fortune and real estate holdings remain in Belize and have been frozen by the government there.
The strange and confusing saga of John McAfee is the type of murder mystery that the media and the public are fascinated by, but, as an immigration attorney, what is truly interesting to me is how the U.S. and other countries operate. Attaining U.S. citizenship can put the full force of the American government on your side, which is why so many immigrants are so eager to obtain it.
If you have questions about your status or other immigration issues, please feel free to contact my office at (512) 215-5225.