This Green Card Case Might Get Denied Even Though Marriage Valid

What’s the one thing that can kill your immigration case? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, Missouri, San Diego, California, and Washington DC. Want to tell you about a consult I had today, very nice lady. She’s in a very, very real marriage. She and her husband love each other very much. The problem is her husband is a foreign national, and he was in the United States for a really long time, couple of decades, really. And back in the day, he was married to a different person and he filed a green card application based on marriage to that prior person, that prior US citizen and the case went through all the regular processes, biometrics, background check, interview, and then investigation. The officers went out and investigated that original marriage.

And I asked the US citizen that I was talking, to the new spouse of the foreign national, if she could send me a copy of the denial of the prior I130 and 45, the I130 was denied. So therefore the 45 was denied. And I130 denials can be very different from each other. And what I mean by that is some can be very extreme and some can be not so bad. And so I’m always wondering, did USCIS really go after them and really nail them down for misrepresentations or fraud?

And unfortunately in this particular denial, it’s pretty comprehensive. It’s pretty detailed. It’s pretty harsh. It goes after the prior marriage, very, very hard pointing out inconsistencies in testimony, lack of documentation. And then at the end, it just throws in all this language from case law about what constitutes a sham marriage. And so, one thing that we always do to attack these kind of prior denials is that we try to discern whether or not USCIS has actually made a claim of fraud.

Fraud is a big no-no in immigration that obviously can keep you from getting an immigration benefit. And the problem in these subsequent cases, like the case that the new lady was calling me about is that they’ll hold that old fraud against you. They’ll take that old misrepresentation and use that as a reason to deny the present case. So in this particular instance, if this client hires us, we’re going to have to not only prove up this current marriage, which will probably be the easy part. We’re also going to have to prove that the prior marriage was not fraudulent.

Unfortunately, the appeal of that prior decision was not really very effective and it didn’t go anywhere. And so now we’re left with a situation where years later, we have to try and prove up this original marriage that it was real. And it’s one of those situations where USCIS would say, yeah, we’d approve this I130 and the 45, but for that old fraud. And of course, if you operate from the mindset that they’re always looking for ways to deny the case and to screw you over, then this approach makes sense.

So our potential client is really in a trick bag because they’re going to have to not only prove their marriage, but we’re also going to have to go back and prove up that other marriage, which might involve reaching out to the prior spouse, trying to drill down with the spouse of the current US citizen, what exactly happened, and then seeing what we can get through the Freedom of Information Act or any other ways to demonstrate that it was, in fact, a real marriage, not going to be easy. And we’re going to charge almost as much as we would for a straight up green card case for the second case. We have to prove both cases. So we’re going to charge almost twice as much as usual. So not fun, not easy, but an interesting case. And I think that there’s some lines of attack that are outlined in that prior denial notice. And we’ll go after it if we get hired.

So long and the short of it is, the sins of the past can come back to haunt you in the current case. Just because your current marriage is real doesn’t mean you’re going to get your green card and maybe that’s my title for today’s video. All right, everybody. Love you. See you soon. We’ll be back tomorrow with another video. If you have questions in the meantime, shoot us an email, jimhacking@immigrationlaw.com, or you can call us at 314-961-8200. You can also 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. Then subscribe to our YouTube channel and that you join us on Tuesdays and Thursdays, usually at noon central, when I’m answering as many of your immigration law related questions as possible. Thanks a lot and have a great day.