Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some FAQs that should be helpful in your situation!
Marriage immigration fraud is defined as the act of marrying an individual with the sole purpose of immigrating to or obtaining permanent status in his or her country of residence and lying about the true purpose of the marriage, i.e. pretending to be in love with him or her.
a. Your spouse hides his/her internet use from you, or won’t use the computer with you around.
b. Your spouse is visiting dating sites.
c. Your spouse keep secrets about who phone conversations are with.
d. Your spouse avoids physical contact with you. Your spouse frequently “has a headache” when it comes to intimacy. Your spouse makes excuses for this. You feel more like roommates than you do a married couple.
e. Your spouse is trying to gain control of your finances and your assets, but surprisingly has a separate bank account. Your spouse wants access to your assests, but does not want the responsibilities for your liabilities.
f. Your spouse tries to provoke confrontations with you, over seemingly trivial things.
g. You have an unexplained feeling that your spouse wants you to become physical.
h. Your spouse calls 911 after a verbal argument, and complains of physical abuse.
i. Your spouse tells family, friends, and neighbors stories of physical abuse.
j. Your spouse begins talking to a women’s shelter.
k. A great resource for more information on some of these signs is GREEN CARD HUNTERS.
a. Foreign born spouses familiar with US Domestic violence laws and VAWA know that a claim of abuse insures free legal assistance invoking federal laws prohibiting their removal from the US.
b. As false allegations are made, the police are mandated to arrest the alleged abuser, without any physical evidence. Immigration laws rely on reported abuse and arrest, not court outcomes. Immigration laws were modified which prevent the unsuspecting American Citizen from proving immigration fraud.
c. Existing immigration laws make it easier for scammers to receive US Citizenship at an accelerated rate, and receive State financial aid during the processing of their Self-Petition.
d. Deceiving an unsuspecting American Citizen looking for a life mate is a very profitable business. Immigration advocacy groups and immigration attorneys are funded by VAWA, which is funded by the federal government.($3.6 Billion authorized in 2005)
a. Get a good divorce attorney! If you can afford it, get a good immigration attorney too.
b. Do not confront your spouse regarding your suspicions. Do not speak to mutual friends, their family members, or anyone they associate with about your suspicions or legal strategies. Talk to your lawyer!
c. If you must speak with someone other than your lawyer, be sure they are a trusted acquaintance.
d. Do not allow your spouse to provoke you, and do not react to his/her provocations.
e. Do not under any circumstances talk to your spouse or friends of your spouse, whether on the phone or in person, without a witness present. Do not post any specific information regarding your spouse on the internet where it is possible they may access it.
f. If possible, move out of the marital home, and have witnesses available for verification. It is best to establish a temporary residence somewhere else. Do not let your spouse know where you are living. Do not return to the home or your spouse may attempt to raise a stalking charge.
g. If your spouse has already moved out of the marital home, change the locks. Check with your lawyer about the legality of this first.
h. Secure the bank accounts. Move your money out of your spouse’s reach as soon as is possible! Get legal advice about a possible 50% rule. Get all valuable documents that might be of use in an immigration or divorce case out of your house and relocate them to a safe deposit box at a bank or another safe location.
i. Keep written copies of your exit plan such as an attorney’s brief with you at all times. The attorney’s brief should stress the need to separate and make no contact with your spouse, as well as steps that have been taken. These papers can be shown to the police if they show up at your new residence on false charges made up by your spouse, as well as in court.
j. Keep documentation of the money involved in your exit plan. This is useful at an abuse trial to show your rational and legal reaction to a marriage that needs to be ended. Abusive people typically do not use rational legal means to exit a marriage. They often use intimidation or force to keep a hold on their victim. Act like a law abiding citizen. Do not waiver with your heart, and keep advancing forward using your head.
k. Do not sign anything for your spouse.
l. Record and document everything that is relevant. If, and only if, it is legal in your state, carry a tape recorder!
m. Check your state laws regarding legal grounds for an annulment. If allowed, an annulment shows the USCIS that you were defrauded. Follow up with a letter and proof that you’ve filed for annulment and the final decree of annulment.
n. You must withdraw sponsorship of your spouse as soon as it is evident that things are fraudulent. If you and your spouse have applied for a change of status, and your spouse has not received the 2 year green card, withdraw your application immediately! Send a notarized letter to the USCIS and include as much information as possible. Write a very detailed synopsis of your relationship with your spouse from the first time you got in touch until the present. Be sure to send it so that someone has to sign for your letter. If your spouse’s change of status has already been approved, you can still withdraw your support, but this unfortunately does not end your financial obligations.
o. Write your local US Representative and US Senators. Have them send a letter to the USCIS on your behalf.
p. Try to get a contact person at your USCIS local office, and be persistent in forcing them to do something about your claim, with investigation.
q. Do not hide, destroy, damage or take your spouse’s immigration documents, passport, etc. This could be used against you in a court of law or with the police.
r. Google your spouse. You may be surprised at what information is out there on the web about people.
s. Do a background check on your spouse. It’s worth the money.
t. Report any suspicious activity to the FBI or USCIS.
u. For additional resources on dealing with false allegations of abuse, visit SAVE
Firstly, we should begin with a history lesson.
The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 was originally introduced in 1990. It was drafted by Senator Joseph Biden’s office with support from The National Organization of Women and Legal Momentum. It was signed into law in August of 1994 as a part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, with the help of outspoken advocates around the country. VAWA created new penalties for gender-related violence and new grant programs encouraging states to address domestic violence and sexual assault. Some of these grants were: law enforcement & prosecution grants(STOP Grants), grants to encourage arrests, rural domestic violence & child abuse enforcement grants, the National Domestic Violence Hotline and grants to abused women’s shelters.
Always cover yourself, and have documentation and copies of all correspondence regarding your situation. Here are some suggestions:
a. Always send a letter via registered and certified mail (USPS).
b. Pick up a Return Receipt label in advance from the post office. Include the tracking number in the subject line of your letter.
c. Make a copy of that letter that you signed and have both notarized prior to mailing it. Keep this copy in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box or at a friend’s house.
d. Keep the USPS tracking receipt with the copy of your letter. Once you receive delivery confirmation on the USPS website, print it. This is in case you do not receive the official USPS receipt back.
e. Include copies of your evidence.
f. Be careful with your wording in your letter. Do not write in an angry or insulting tone and avoid rhetoric. Stick to the facts and write professionally. Present your evidence. Do not demean your spouse. You want to be firm without sounding like you are out of control. Be specific in your request, without being demanding. Appeal to their emotions. This is especially important in regards to communication to the USCIS.
The State Department has helpful information on “Guarding Against International Parental Child Abduction”