For immigrants to the U.S. who are seeking help with paths to citizenship or assistance with removal defense, the answer is not to commit immigration marriage fraud. Many immigrants in the Dallas area find themselves in difficult situations in which they are seeking asylum or applying for visas in order to remain in this country. At the same time, numerous immigrants are concerned about their immediate ability to stay in the U.S. and are dealing with concerns about deportation or finding an advocate to help with removal defense.
Regardless of your immigration status or the status of a loved one, it is important to remember that marriage fraud is a serious crime with severe consequences.
Consequences If You Are Charged with Marriage Fraud
What are the consequences if you are charged with immigration marriage fraud? According to a brochure provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, marriage fraud can result in the following penalties:
- Up to five years in prison;
- Up to $250,000 in fines; and
- Loss of benefits.
Marriage fraud is taken extremely seriously under federal law, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act § 275 and 8 U.S. Code § 1325. The potential consequences highlighted above stem from these federal laws, which govern the illegal entry of an alien into the U.S., and the misrepresentation or concealment of facts concerning an alien’s entry into this country. As the brochure underscores, U.S. citizens who enter into fraudulent marriages with non-citizens “assume great personal liability.”
What kinds of marriage fraud currently take place? The brochure identifies the following:
- S. citizen is compensated for marrying a foreign national;
- “Mail-order” marriages that are fraudulent for either or both the U.S. citizen and alien;
- Visa lottery fraudulent marriages; and/or
- Foreign national defrauds a U.S. citizen who thinks the marriage is real.
How to Report Marriage Fraud
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has a tip line for U.S. citizens who suspect marriage fraud. If you have any concerns, you should contact the HSI Tip Line at 1-866-347-2423 or fill out an HSI Tip Form online. There are also HSI offices throughout the country that can provide you with additional information about marriage fraud and its consequences.
Why Marriage Fraud Is a Threat to U.S. National Security
Immigration marriage fraud poses more dangers than just criminal consequences for the parties. As the brochure from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement emphasizes, marriage fraud can also allow people into this country who plan to commit acts of terror. Indeed, “terrorists and other criminals can use marriage fraud as a vehicle to enter the United States, often due to the willingness of U.S. citizens.”
Even if you enter into a fraudulent marriage without knowing that you are enabling terrorist activities, you can still be liable. The Department of Homeland Security makes clear that “participants in marriage fraud may, knowingly or unknowingly, be aiding terrorists, foreign intelligence or other criminal organizations, and will be held accountable.”
Contact a Dallas Immigration Lawyer
If you or someone you love needs assistance with an application to remain in the U.S., you should speak with an experienced Dallas immigration attorney about your case. Contact Kraft & Associates today to learn more about how we can help.