Marriage fraud is a big concern for agencies like the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These government bodies uphold the laws regarding legal entrance into the U.S. to keep citizens, legal residents, and visitors safe. When two people commit marriage fraud for immigration purposes, they bypass the safeguards in our system.
Anyone facing marriage fraud charges deserves a fair due process. The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg have a marriage fraud lawyer serving The Colony who can help you navigate the complex process of marriage fraud investigations and trials, avoid unnecessary punishment for having a valid marriage that USCIS finds suspicious, and reduce sentences for those who had well-meaning reasons to take this path to residency.
The Basics of Marriage Fraud
The Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments Act of 1986 defines marriage fraud as when “an individual knowingly enters into a marriage for the purpose of evading any provision of the immigration laws.” Some of the most common examples of marriage fraud include:
- A citizen agrees to marry a foreign national for money or as a favor
- A third-party service or foreign national coordinates a “mail-order” marriage
- A foreign national convinces a citizen that the marriage is real but is doing it for immigration purposes
Why Is Marriage Fraud Such a Big Issue?
Our immigration system has laws in place to protect everyone, including citizens and foreign nationals. Fraudulent relationships can put people at risk to be exploited, including financially, or abused. For instance, fake marriages may be a way to trap vulnerable people in situations where they can be taken advantage of. Also, bypassing important immigration processes jeopardizes the country’s vetting process and can cause homeland security issues.
A marriage fraud lawyer from our firm can work with you if you’re in a fraudulent marriage where you’ve been abused or exploited. We can use evidence to show your side of the story, demonstrate whether you knew the marriage was fraudulent, and help you get a lesser sentence where necessary.
Penalties for Marriage Fraud in the U.S.
Both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals can face serious penalties if they’re found guilty of marriage fraud. These penalties include:
- Up to five years in prison for felony charges
- Fines up to $250,000
Citizens can face multiple felony charges, including for defrauding the government, harboring an alien, giving false statements, visa fraud, and conspiracy.
In addition to prison time and fines, foreign nationals found guilty of marriage fraud can also have their visa or residency status revoked and have all future visa applications denied.
A marriage fraud lawyer from our firm can help you get a lesser sentence, especially if you were pressured or otherwise tricked into committing marriage fraud. We can also help those who have not committed marriage fraud avoid penalties by proving the validity of your marriage and disputing fraud claims from the government.
The Colony Marriage Fraud Lawyer Near Me (214) 696-9253
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Marriage Fraud Case?
If you believe that your marriage is valid, you may not think you should get a lawyer. But a criminal defense lawyer with experience handling marriage fraud cases can:
- Review your residency applications, interviews, and other materials to understand why you’re being investigated or charged
- Collect evidence that proves your relationship is real, such as testimonies from family and friends
- Present proof that your marriage is valid, such as marriage licenses and wedding photos
- Apply precedents on diverse family composition and relationship status to demonstrate that you are building a life together
- Show whether you were defrauded by a third party and did not know that a document or other piece of evidence was faked or invalid
If you may have entered an illegitimate union for immigration purposes, a marriage fraud lawyer can:
- Gather evidence that shows if you had been pressured or forced into a fraudulent marriage
- Demonstrate your character and argue your side of the story
- Negotiate sentencing and other terms with the prosecution
No matter how your marriage fraud case started, our marriage fraud lawyer serving The Colony can fight for your rights and ensure you get fair treatment in the criminal justice system.
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Choose the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg to Handle Your Marriage Fraud Case in The Colony
As a board-certified criminal defense lawyer and criminal defense advocate, attorney Randall B. Isenberg has served on both sides of the bench, including as a Senior Chief Felony Prosecutor and State District Trial Judge. He has 30 years of experience in criminal justice and is dedicated to helping those accused of crimes get the quality representation they deserve.
When you work with our law firm, you can expect:
- Statewide reputation for quality representation
- In-depth and independent investigation for the best possible evidence
- Compassion for your unique circumstances
- Regular updates on your marriage fraud case
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Why Am I Being Investigated for Marriage Fraud?
You have to go through various interviews with USCIS agents to verify the information on your application is correct and to validate your marriage. This is standard for every married couple made up of a foreign national and a U.S. citizen. In these interviews, agents are generally looking for signs of a legitimate marriage, including:
- History of a relationship, most commonly a romantic one
- Having met each other’s families
- Shared children
- Shared financial assets and property
- History of living together
However, we and these agencies recognize that not all married couples meet these standards. For example, you may not have shared children or may choose to separate your financial accounts. Your marriage fraud lawyer can present additional evidence and arguments to prove that your marriage is valid when under suspicion from government agencies.
What If My Marriage Is Valid?
The key point of U.S. marriage fraud laws is that the parties must knowingly enter into a marriage for the purpose of expediting one of the couple’s immigration status. In some cases, USCIS and ICE call the validity of marriages into question because they believe at least one in the couple is deceiving the government.
Even if you and your partner both believe your marriage to be valid, these agencies may investigate and even charge you with marriage fraud. Some circumstances that can lead to otherwise unfounded marriage fraud allegations include:
- False marriage documents
- Getting married in another country
- Getting married soon after meeting
- Previous valid marriages, such as divorces or annulments that haven’t been finalized
A marriage fraud lawyer serving The Colony can present additional evidence and refute unfounded claims about your marriage to prevent charges or penalties.
We’re Ready to Help Your Marriage Fraud Case in The Colony
If you or a loved one are facing marriage fraud charges, whether knowingly having entered into a fraudulent marriage for immigration purposes or not, you can get the help of one of our marriage fraud attorneys in The Colony. Contact us today for a free case review to find out how we can help.