Individuals facing the immigration process generally live with a certain level of fear and uncertainty until everything is resolved. With paperwork errors, missed deadlines or allegations of fraud all potentially resulting in removal proceedings, the couple is usually met with an unending sense of unease until the matter is finalized.
Even couples who have done nothing wrong might feel the pressure of proving their relationship is legitimate. Marriage fraud is a common issue that could prevent a foreign spouse from obtaining a green card. The United States government is always on high alert for relationships that were created for the main purpose of evading immigration laws. Marriage fraud often has devastating consequences including deportation and jail time.
While every situation is different, there are common types of marriage fraud that might lead to serious trouble for the parties involved, including:
- When the U.S. citizen is paid to marry the foreign national, who can then obtain a green card
- When the U.S. citizen receives no payment, but marries the foreign national as a favor – either in the payment of a debt or to receive favors in return in the future
- When the foreign national intentionally defrauds the U.S. citizen who ultimately incorrectly believes the marriage is legitimate
- When the marriage follows a “mail order” format and both parties generally understand the relationship has fraudulent roots
Though couples in genuine relationships generally have no issue providing the necessary information to prove their legitimacy, mistakes happen. Whether one party was nervous, confused about the interview process or misunderstood the questions being asked, it is not uncommon for the couple to face a more in-depth marriage-based interview, also called a “fraud interview” or a “Stokes interview.”
If you are facing deportation or your partner was accused of marriage fraud, it is crucial that you act quickly to protect yourself and your future together. An experienced immigration lawyer can carefully evaluate your case and develop a strong removal defense strategy uniquely tailored to your situation.