Marriage fraud is the term used to describe a situation when a foreigner marries a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, for the sole or primary purpose of getting immigration benefits.
There are many immigration benefits available to aliens who are married to U.S. citizens including waiving the unlawful presence, unlawful employment, and
So immigration authorities apply high levels of scrutiny to the legitimacy of the marriage when an alien seeks an immigration benefit based on marriage to a U.S. citizen.
According to INA § 216(b)(1) “if DHS finds that
(A) the qualifying marriage-
(i) was entered into for the purpose of procuring an alien’s admission as an immigrant, or
(ii) has been judicially annulled or terminated, other than through the death of a spouse; or
(B) a fee or other consideration was given (other than a fee or other consideration to an attorney for assistance in preparation of a lawful petition) for the filing of a petition under section 204(a) or subsection (d) or (p) of section 214 with respect to the alien;
the Secretary of Homeland Security shall so notify the parties involved and, subject to paragraph (2), shall terminate the permanent resident status of the alien (or aliens) involved as of the date of the determination.”
During the interview the immigration officer observes the couple’s behavior and pays special attention to the following red flags:
- No shared language.
- Vast difference in age.
- Difference in religion.
- Different social class or cultural background.
- Difference in race.
- Unequal educational background.
- Different addresses.
- Parents and relatives are not aware of the marriage.
- Foreign national is in removal proceedings
- Marriage soon after a divorce.
- History of U.S. petitioner sponsoring other spousal immigrants.
REMOVAL ON ACCOUNT OF MARRIAGE FRAUD
INA § 237(G)(i) addresses marriage fraud and subsequent removal.
PENALTIES FOR FRAUDULENT MARRIAGES
The fraudulent marriage bar is very serious because it is not waivable, and there is no legal remedy to remove the bar—meaning once the non-citizen is found to have engaged in this type of fraud, she will never again be able to obtain a visa through marriage.
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