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Marriage Fraud in Texas

Immigration to the United States, while not at its peak levels currently, is still prevalent. People from all over the world see our country as a pathway to a better life for themselves and their families. There are many routes a person can take to enter our country but their motivations are more the most part similar.

Remaining in the country is a different subject, however. While many people enter the country legally, some attempt to remain in the United States by any means necessary. Marriage fraud is an example of the means some people will utilize in order to keep from having to return to their country of origin.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC has represented clients from around the world whose situations are related to their immigration status. We would like to share our thoughts on this subject with you in order to shed some light on this subject.

At this point I will state that I, nor any attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, am not an immigration attorney. If you have specific questions about a legal matter that is related to immigration law my suggestion is to contact an immigration lawyer to learn how that area of the law specifically relates to you and your family.

Marriage Fraud is a Crime

Some people get so desperate as to consider immigration marriage fraud. It is understandable to be concerned if your immigration status is up in the air due to a visa or asylum application taking longer than previously thought to be resolved. That being said, engaging in marriage fraud in order to remain in the United States is a crime and carries penalties if convicted of having engaged in it.

What are those penalties, you may be asking? Marriage Fraud brings with it the possibility of having to spend up to five years in prison, a loss of benefits (insurance, etc.) and up to $250,000 in fines. Marriage fraud is a federal crime and is not taken lightly by the government. Any misrepresentation made or an attempt to conceal facts that have to do with the ability of a person to enter this country can be construed as marriage fraud. U.S. citizens also have the potential to be punished under these laws if he or she helps to facilitate a fraudulent marriage.

What are some examples of marriage fraud that occur?

Four of the most common examples of marriage fraud that occur in relation to immigration are:

  1. Visa lottery fraudulent marriages
  2. “Mail Order” marriages that are either fraudulent for the U.S. citizen, the non citizen or both
  3. A citizen of the U.S. is paid money to marriage the foreign citizen
  4. A foreign citizen fraudulently leads a U.S. citizen to believe that their marriage is legitimate

Does Marriage Fraud truly offer a specific threat to the United States and its citizens?

Whatever your perspective is on this subject, the federal government would certainly answer this question with a big “Yes”. Marriage fraud allows people entry into this country without being of lawful status. People from other countries who are in the United States lawfully are either here for a short period of time or have been vetted in order to remain her for an extended period of time. Those people who have committed marriage fraud have bypassed the apparatus that is place to verify the identity of those who enter the United States. It is not uncommon for people with bad intentions to utilize citizens of the U.S. to gain entry to the country under the guise of a legitimate marriage.

For U.S. citizens, even if you did not know that you were taking part in a fraudulent marriage, you can still be prosecuted for having committed this crime. As the Department of Homeland Security will tell you, those who engage in marriage fraud- knowingly or unknowingly- will be held accountable for their actions.

Ways to Identify Marriage Fraud

To identify a “fake” marriage, it is essential to know how to identify a “real marriage”. Real marriages typically exhibit a few characteristics beyond the ceremony and the filing of paperwork with the county clerk. Spouses in a real marriage must typically show that they intend to live in a marriage relationship together and must prove their intention to do so with action. Immigration officials will interview people that are in questionable situations, conduct home visits and even interview friends and relatives in order to determine the legitimacy of a marriage.

A legitimate marriage has certain characteristics just as an illegitimate marriage does. Legitimate marriages typically involve spouses who share a language and religious belief. Married people will more often than not live together and engage intimately with one another and have children. Shared ownership of property including a family home, bank account and automobile are further evidence of a legitimate marriage.

Marriage fraud is something that has been in the news increasingly often in recent years. A simple Google search will reveal instances where people have been arrested and charged with marriage fraud in States across our country, including Texas. If you live in the United States and your ability to remain here depends on the status of your marriage then you will obviously want to make sure that you would want to make sure that your attempt to divorce your spouse, should that ever arise, would not have an impact on your immigration status.

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC offers free of charge consultations on family law matters

The divorce attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC thank you for having read this blog post. If you or a member of your family have a question related to divorce, marriage and how your immigration status can impact either, please do not hesitate to contact our office. A licensed family law attorney will be ready and willing to meet with you and answer any questions you may have. We represent clients across southeast Texas and would be honored to speak to you about your potential case.

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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. The Effect of Divorcing a United States Citizen While a Non-U.S. Citizen
  2. I am Not a United States Citizen and Live in Spring, Texas Can I file for Divorce?
  3. The Dirty Trick of Filing for Divorce in Another City
  4. The Dirty Trick of Moving Out of State with the Kids
  5. Should I move out of the marital home during a divorce?
  6. Do I have to move out of the marital home during a divorce in Spring, Texas?
  7. Children's Passports and International Travel after Texas Divorce
  8. Can a Parent remove My Child from the state of Texas or from the County or Country where I am living?
  9. Geographic Restrictions in Child Visitation Orders in Texas
  10. 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
  11. What are some signs that your spouse may be defrauding you?

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