As an Boston immigration lawyer and expert on the marriage-based green card process, I was quoted in today’s Boston Globe article discussing marriage fraud and earlier in a Boston Herald article. I also appeared on The Boston Channel, WCVB Channel 5 news discussing deportation and sham marriages. You can watch the news video here. And you can read my blog on marriage fraud and green cards here.
The Boston Globe article looks at the immigration problems of 3 Pakistanis whom the Department of Homeland Security has detained in connection with the Times Square bombing. According to media reports, they are facing the prospect of deportation or removal from the United States and are appearing in Boston Immigration Court before Immigration Judge Robin Feder. Each are married to U.S. citizens. But attorneys from Immigration and Customs Enforcement allege that the marriages are fraudulent.
Can you avoid deportation by marrying a U.S. citizen? The answer is yes . . . and no. Let me explain.
First, if you get married after the government has initiated deportation proceedings, you will have to overcome the presumption that your marriage is sham and that the only reason you got married was to avoid being deported. Before you can even apply for your green card, you’ll have to prove by “clear and convincing” evidence that your relationship was entered into in good faith.
Many people get green cards through marriage. But the process for getting a green card through marriage while facing deportation is totally different. You’ll have to file a stand-only I-130 visa petition and specifically request, IN WRITING, an exemption based on a good-faith marriage. And you can file your I-485 if, and only if, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves your I-130.
Finally, even if USCIS grants your I-130, you are not out of the woods. You’ll have to have an adjustment of status interview before an Immigration Judge who will independently review whether your relationship is a sham. This hearing will be adversarial and the Department of Homeland Security is represented by experienced trial attorneys who will rip you to shreds on cross-examination if your marriage is sham.
USCIS doesn’t take marriage fraud lightly. If caught, you’ll be barred from future visa petitions and face criminal fines of up to $250,000 and five years imprisonment.
Bottom-line: if you are required to appear in Immigration Court and considering marriage as a way to avoid deportation, you should consult with an immigration lawyer with considerable experience in courtroom advocacy. Call me at 617-722-0005 to discuss your immigration case.