Entering into a marriage solely for immigration benefits is illegal and often results in deportation. But actually admitting the marriage was fraudulent might actually help you not only keep your green card, but also make you eligible for U.S. citizenship.
What would you do to be granted permanent resident status (green card)? Would you marry someone you did not love, and in fact hardly knew, simply because they were a U.S. citizen and thought it was your ticket to a green card? You may not be willing to enter into such a marriage, but many people are. And in fact, many people are even willing to pay large sums of money so that a U.S. citizen will marry them.
A client of Reeves Immigration Law Group, who we will refer to as “George” to protect his privacy, decided that the benefit of a green card was worth the risk of deportation. So he married a U.S. citizen in the hopes of getting his green card. And it worked. Sure he lied about the reasons for the marriage, he lied about whether he lived with his wife, etc., but he got a green card! At least for two years.
George was only granted conditional permanent resident status, which is valid for two years. Him and his wife were required to file a joint petition to remove the conditions on George’s residence near the end of this two-year period.
George and his wife filed the required petition, but were not so lucky this time around. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services determined that George’s marriage was not valid; that he only entered into the marriage for a green card. And when they made this determination, they immediately began the process of deporting George!
At this point, George was terrified! His plan had failed and his situation was worse than if he had never even entered into the marriage in the first place. George felt hopeless, but fortunately, he decided to consult with Reeves Immigration Law Group (RILG) before simply giving up and leaving the U.S. George met with Attorney Devin Connolly, the Managing Partner of RILG.
Attorney Connolly explained to George that he was eligible to apply for a waiver under Section 237(a)(1)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. George was eventually required to appear in Immigration Court, by which time he had a new U.S. citizen wife, who he truly loved, and multiple children that were born in the U.S. Now George truly had a reason to stay in the U.S. – his family.
Attorney Connolly presented George’s case to the court, arguing all of the reasons why George should be allowed to remain in the U.S. This included his family, his charitable contributions, his lack of a criminal record, etc. It also included George apologizing for his prior mistake and taking responsibility for his actions.
I am now happy to say that the Immigration Judge granted George his requested waiver. He said that the positives in George’s case outweighed the fraudulent marriage, and that he thought that George genuinely regretted his prior actions.
With George receiving his waiver, the green card that he received through a fraudulent marriage is now considered valid. But a green card is not enough for George – he has already applied for U.S. citizenship!