Getting married simply for a green card almost never works. Rather, it may actually prevent a person from ever being granted permanent resident status. However, with the right attorney and the correct legal strategy, even U.S. citizenship is still possible despite the fake marriage.
Marriage fraud is a federal crime with severe consequences. In addition to the risk of being imprisoned for up to 5 years and being fined up to $250,000, a person considering entering into a marriage solely for immigration benefits is also risking being unable to be petitioned for the rest of their life, by either a family member or an employer. Despite these harsh penalties, the chance of obtaining permanent resident status in the U.S. (green card) is just too tempting for some people. Fortunately for one Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza (RMZD) client, he was able to secure a waiver of his prior marriage fraud.
Our client, who we will refer to as “Peter” to protect his confidentiality, decided that he was willing to risk jail, fines, etc., simply so that he could get his green card. Peter’s parents arranged for a “sham marriage” to take place, even paying a U.S. citizen to marry their son. And it worked . . . for a short time.
Peter was granted conditional permanent resident status in 1999. Since his status was only granted on a conditional basis, Peter was required to petition to remove the conditions on his green card approximately two years after he arrived in the U.S. It was at this time that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service was able to determine that Peter’s marriage was not legitimate. Peter admitted that he never lived with his wife and that his marriage was arranged by his parents.
The Department of Homeland Security began the process of deporting Peter due to his fraudulent marriage. Peter retained RMZD to represent him and help him fight for his green card. His case was handled by Attorney Flomy Diza, the Managing Partner of RMZD’s San Francisco Office.
Attorney Diza advised Peter that he was eligible for a waiver under Section 237(a)(1)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. This waiver will forgive certain prior misrepresentations that people make at the time they are issued their green cards. Attorney Diza argued that Peter deserved a favorable exercise of discretion. He acknowledged that Peter made a serious mistake by getting married solely for a green card, but that nevertheless he deserved to be granted a waiver of this fraud because of his family ties in the United States, his lengthy residence in this country, the hardships that his family would suffer if he was deported, his stable employment history, as well as other evidence Peter’s good moral character.
RMZD is happy to say that, on February 20, 2018, an Immigration Judge granted Peter a second chance at a life in America. The Immigration Judge granted Peter his waiver and forgave him for his prior fraudulent marriage. Peter celebrated with his family and has now begun to process of applying for U.S. citizenship.
*Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza has successfully represented hundreds of immigrants with waivers under Section 237(a)(1)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. We represented the petitioner before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in the landmark case “Vasquez v. Holder.” This case expanded eligibility for immigrants who had acquired their green cards through fraudulent marriages.