Skip to comments.Their wed of deceit unraveled: 53% denied green cards
Posted on 11/24/2003 2:36:21 AM PST by sarcasm
Even if the bride wore white, there's no guarantee of the green.
More than half of all green card applications stemming from marriages to U.S. citizens in 2001 were denied by immigration officers, a top U.S. official told the Daily News.
Of the 17,900 marriage-based petitions processed in fiscal year 2003, 9,500 were denied, or a record 53%, said Mary Ann Gantner, interim director of the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services' district in New York. The year before, 30% were denied.
"We've done a significant amount of training in the last year with our officers so they are better able to detect fraudulent documents and phony marriages," said Gantner, who beefed up her interviewing staff in New York to 40 from 32.
Of those denied green cards in 2003, 11% of the couples were caught lying in their interviews, tripping up on some of the most mundane details of married life, interview officers reported.
For example, some people couldn't say how many bedrooms were in their apartments, how their spouses got to and from work, or even where the in-laws lived, Gantner said. The sham marriage participants now face deportation and hefty fines.
Others who were rejected simply got cold feet, and never showed up for interviews with immigrations officials. There is generally a two-year lag between weddings and processing of marriage-based green card applications.
Gantner said the bulk of those rejected were part of the stampede to the city clerk's office in 2001, when long lines of immigrants wrapped around the marriage license bureau at 1 Centre St.
The rush was set off when an immigration law was temporarily reinstated by Congress allowing undocumented immigrants - who normally would have to go back home and wait several years - to apply for green cards based on family relationships and employer sponsorship.
Marriage to a U.S. citizen is the simplest and fastest way for an unskilled worker - such as a janitor or nanny - to gain legal residency.
And marriage remains the most popular way to get a green card, representing the bulk of applications received in the New York district, Gantner said.
"People are scared, people are desperate," said Marcia Needleman, a Manhattan immigration attorney, who discourages her clients from taking part in phony marriages.
Gantner said she does not feel sorry for those who commit fraud. "My sympathies lie more with the individual who is waiting in their home country - waiting in line - doing things legally," she said.
We have 10 million illegals, this is not even a dent. More than 9500 illegals sneak accross the border each week.
Is this for the entire USA or just the NY district? Seems to me that there were MILLIONS that got in under the LIFE act (which required mrriage).
Now that is a great question!
Can't help wondering. Also what was the rejection rate in the western states, where most of the immigration "workers" seen to be illegals themselves...
That's got to be the first immigration lawyer I've heard say that. Is there hope yet?
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