Immigrant Marriage Fraud Case

Some immigrants who tried to become lawful permanent residents through marriage to U.S. citizens, in Florida ran into a major legal stumbling block. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators stopped an immigrant marriage counseling scam in its tracks in May 2008, when they caught U.S. citizens operating a scam in which they coached immigrants in what to say during their family immigration processes.

U.S. immigration officials said that the couples were fraudulent in that they were getting married solely to help non-citizens become legal residents. They said these couples were going through the correct family immigration processes, but they had learned how to pass through all the immigration checks by paying companies up to $10,000 to learn the ropes. The Americans and the fraudulent spouses all faced Criminal charges of entering into a fraudulent marriage to avoid immigration laws. The couples were discovered when immigration officials noted similar statements being made by multiple couples.

Obtaining J-1 Waivers

Individuals can obtain a waiver of Section (212(e) (two-year home residence requirement) to avoid going back to his home country for the mandatory two-year return-home provision of their agreement with the United States in a number of ways depending upon the J-1 program.

Methods available to waive (212(e) include:

  1. Obtaining a “No-Objection” letter from their government which is coordinated through the U.S. State Department, by first getting a letter from a U.S. government agency claiming that having the individual remain in the country is in the best public interest of the United States.
  2. Obtaining the endorsement of an interested U.S. government agency that it is in the interest of the government to override the (212(e) limitation. This can include intellectual waivers from the National Institute of Health or most any government agency.
  3. Physicians serving needs of the underserved can obtain State waivers under the Conrad 30 program or other governmental agencies.
  4. People can also qualify for waivers based upon personal or family hardship based upon health, political or religious hardship to the individual or immediate family.

These are very complicated areas of law and need the active assistance of a qualified immigration professional.

Exceptional Hardship Exemptions

One of the exemptions to the rule that exchange visitors to the United States must return to their countries for two years before coming back to the United States is that doing so would create a hardship to the individual, a spouse or child.

If an individual is going to apply for the exceptional hardship exemption, the application is made to both the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service. The process must be substantially supported by affidavits of independent experts and whatever other primary and secondary supporting evidence that can be made available. The burden of proof is on the applicant. It is highly advisable that a qualified immigration J waiver attorney assist applicants in these applications.


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