Wedding ceremonies are a joyous event to celebrate the love of two people, but marriage is recognized as a legal status. Therefore, couples enter a marriage for love, not for immigration purposes. However, some people try to exploit the marriage visa system so they can live in the U.S. illegally.
These marriages are commonly known as marriage fraud or marriage visa schemes, which are different ways of deceiving immigration officials into believing that two people are married when they are not. Immigration laws designed to protect against exploitation and keep families together do not apply to those who enter into a fraudulent marriage to obtain a green card or visa.
If you have been accused of marriage fraud or believe your spouse may be involved in a marriage visa scheme, you must speak to an experienced Balch Springs marriage fraud lawyer as soon as possible. At the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we can help you deal with a marriage fraud case.
What Is Marriage Fraud?
Marriage fraud occurs when one person uses their marriage to another person solely for their immigration benefit. The person filing for a marriage visa must prove that their marriage is legitimate, meaning that it is based on love and not just an agreement to help the other person stay in the U.S.
With marriage fraud, a couple enters into a marriage to get another person a green card or visa. If you are in or are accused of a fraudulent marriage, you could face deportation and legal penalties. It is important that you retain an experienced marriage fraud attorney if you have been accused of marriage fraud. Your attorney can help you understand the charges against you and possible ways to address those charges.
Additionally, your lawyer can help you avoid a conviction and deportation. As with any criminal charge, marriage fraud can significantly impact your life. If you are charged with marriage fraud or accused of committing marriage fraud, it is best to consult with a marriage fraud lawyer serving Balch Springs as soon as possible. An attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system and protect your rights.
Types of Marriage Fraud Cases in Balch Springs
There are several different types of marriage fraud cases. However, the most common types of marriage fraud include:
- Green card marriage: A green card marriage is a marriage that occurs solely to obtain a green card for the other person.
- Visa marriage: A visa marriage happens when one person uses marriage to another person to get them a visa.
- Contract marriage: A contract marriage is when a couple agrees to get married but with no intention of staying together. They may agree to be married for a certain period and then annul the wedding after the spouse becomes a citizen. Sometimes the foreigner pays the U.S. citizen money to get married.
- Mail-order marriage: In such marriages, some people advertise their services as either bride or groom. In exchange for their marriage, such ‘spouses’ receive monetary compensation.
What Are the Legal Consequences of a Marriage Fraud Conviction?
Marriage fraud is usually considered a felony because it involves fraud and deception. However, people who commit marriage fraud may also be charged with other crimes, such as immigration fraud.
The penalties vary based on the facts of each case and the jurisdiction in which it was committed. For example, a person convicted of marriage fraud faces a $250,000 fine or a prison sentence of up to five years. It is worth noting that the fine and prison term can be imposed on both parties to the crime.
A U.S. citizen can also face additional charges like visa fraud or harboring an alien. These additional charges carry further fines and prison terms. Entering into a sham marriage can also have some unforeseen consequences. For example, you may be hosting a terrorist. If they commit terrorist attacks in the U.S., you can also be charged as a conspirator, even if you do not know the plans.
Balch Springs Marriage Fraud Lawyer Near Me (214) 696-9253
Get a Green Card Without Committing Marriage Fraud
If you want a green card or visa, you should never enter into a fraudulent relationship with someone else. This type of activity is a crime, and if you are caught, you will face serious legal consequences.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) takes a rather stern view on marriage fraud. Therefore, it requires abundant proof to be convinced that a marriage between a U.S. citizen and an alien is legitimate (bona fide). Therefore, merely possessing a wedding certificate would not suffice. They would also require that the couple has joint bank accounts, and where applicable, they can show birth certificates for their kids.
ICE agents would doubt the validity of the marriage if there were potential indicators like the married couple not living in the same house, the couple does not speak the same language, the wedding was secretly done, and the family members of the U.S. citizen are not aware of such marriage. If any of these happen, it would indicate fraud.
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Contact a Balch Springs Marriage Fraud Attorney for Help with Your Case Today
A Balch Springs marriage fraud lawyer can help you understand the charges against you, defend your rights, and protect your reputation. If you have been accused of marriage fraud, your lawyer can help you fight the charges and avoid deportation.
If you are in a relationship with someone in the U.S. illegally, you may have questions about how to address the situation while protecting your rights. A marriage fraud attorney can help you navigate the situation and protect your rights. Your attorney can also help someone you know who is facing marriage fraud charges.
At the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we can help. Our founding partner has 30 years of experience in the legal profession and has previously been a prosecutor and a judge. Through his experience and other attorneys in the firm, we can help defend your case. If you know someone who has been charged with marrying a U.S. citizen for immigration purposes, we can help them navigate the charges and seek relief from the court. We are available 24/7 to help customize a solution for your case.