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Signs of Marital Fraud

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What are the signs of fraud in a marriage-based immigration case? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. I think I’ve talked about this case before in our office, but we had a case that we put together, we filed it, we got it all ready for interview. Case got approved, and it was a marriage based case, and the fellow received a Green Card. I believe he was from Macedonia, somewhere in Europe, over by Bosnia. When he came back through customs after getting his Green Card, customs stopped him and they looked at his phone and they figured out that the case that we had filed, the case that we had gotten approved was in fact fake. They took his Green Card on the spot and they put him on a plane back to Macedonia.

We were quite surprised by this. We were quite surprised that one of our cases was not legit. Now, we take everyone who comes to see us at face value. We never want to be participating in any kind of immigration fraud. We have a reputation to maintain. We have obligations as lawyers to uphold the law and to follow the law. Sometimes, it used to surprise me when I was a new immigration lawyer that people thought that you only hired an immigration lawyer if you had a fake marriage. That’s very funny to me now, because we file marriage-based cases all the time and they’re all legitimate, except apparently for this one.

After that case got denied, I was down at immigration and I was talking to the officer who had approved the case. I wanted to tell him what had happened at Customs and Border Patrol so that he himself, the officer, didn’t get any flack or any trouble for having approved the case. I wanted him to know that we had no idea that this was any kind of fraud. Of course, we’re never going to have anything to do with that guy in Macedonia anymore, because we don’t want to be a part of any kind of immigration fraud. It led to an interesting discussion between the officer and I, and we talked about, what are the things that you guys look for when it comes to fraud? He said, “Well, obviously you have big age gaps, those are the kinds of things that you worry about. Situations where,” excuse me, “where the foreign national has been out of status for a really long time. Or if they come on a Visit Visa and get married right away.”

They’re always going to look at the conditions and how the couple met. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard where people met at the gas station or at the train station. If it isn’t the way that people would normally meet each other, then it’s going to be held to a little bit of a higher standard. If the foreign national, like I said, is out of status, they’re going to be held to a higher standard. If they’ve worked without permission in the United States, they’re going to be held to a higher standard. These are the kinds of things that they look for.

If the US citizen has not been employed and looks like they could be desperate for money so that marrying a foreign national in order to get them a Green Card would be a benefit or a financial windfall for the US citizen, they’re going to be suspicious of those situations. Whenever you have times where a US citizen or a foreign national has been married many times before, that’s another thing. Obviously, we had a case once where he got a Green Card approved for a fellow, it was his sixth marriage, sixth marriage. He was the US citizen, but we were able to get his wife and child over, stepchild, from Africa, so you can do it.

It’s not to say that just because you have one of these types of marriages that your case is going to be denied. But, it’s important to keep in mind, what are the list of factors that USCIS looks at in determining whether there’s fraud, and then what can you do, what evidence can you submit in order to try to counterbalance that inclination towards finding fraud? You never want to be hit with fraud. USCIS is getting much more forceful with their fraud determinations, and we’re going to do everything we can to help you submit a case that’s free of fraud, free of any indications of fraud, so that you’re in the best position possible to get your case approved.

Hopefully this made sense. If you got married and you’re thinking about applying for a Green Card and you need our help, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at info@hackinglawpractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you liked this video, we ask that you please share it out on social, that you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and that you join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 1:00 on our YouTube channel and in our Facebook group Immigrant Home so that you can ask us whatever questions you want and get all the answers to your immigration questions. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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