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Alleged Marriage Fraud Scheme to get Green Cards in Texas Uncovered

Alleged Marriage Fraud Scheme to get Green Cards in Texas Uncovered

Dozens in the Houston, Texas area have been charged with marriage fraud and have been indicted for the alleged scheme aimed at obtaining Green Cards for Vietnamese nationals. According to officials, Ashley Yen Nguyen had various associates throughout the state of Texas and as well as in Vietnam. The indictment listed 96 people in connection to Ms. Nguyen on April 30th in the Southern District of Texas.

The alleged scheme reportedly created over one-hundred fifty fake marriages through fraudulent marriage green cards. “Marriage fraud is a serious crime,” USCIS Houston Director Tony Bryson said in his statement. “This indictment reveals how successful our working relationships are with our law enforcement and intelligence partners when it comes to investigating marriage fraud. USCIS remains steadfast in our commitment to ensuring national security, public safety and the integrity of the immigration system.”

According to Director Bryson, each "beneficiary spouse" paid Ms. Nguyen between $50,00 and $70,000 to obtain full U.S. permanent resident status. The report also claims that for each additional beneficiary, a necessary payment would be made to obtain admission into the U.S., conditional U.S. permanent resident status and, finally, full U.S. permanent resident status.

The organizers allegedly went so far as to prepare “fake wedding albums that included photographs, the statement said. The suspects also allegedly provided false tax, utility and employment information to USCIS,” it said,

The couples who were involved in the alleged marriage green card scheme never lived together or intended to live together. “Contrary to the official documents and statements they submitted" to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service in Houston, the statement said.

Attorney Trang Le Nguyen prepared false paperwork associated with various fake green cards, she has been charged with obstructing and impending the due administration of justice and tampering with a witness.

Here’s What The Law Offices of James A. Welcome Does

If you are married to a U.S. citizen, you may qualify for a marriage-based green card. The rules surrounding marriage and green cards are detailed and complex, and largely depend upon whether the marriage was to a citizen or legal permanent resident and if they entered the country legally.

In order to obtain immigration benefits available to a spouse, there must be a valid marriage between the parties. Unlike many other immigration benefits, you can apply for a marriage green card even if you have an unlawful presence in the U.S. or you have overstayed a visa.

Married to a U.S. Citizen?

The husband or wife of a U.S. citizen is considered an “immediate relative” by law which means they are not held against any quota restrictions for receiving green cards via marriage. To start the process, the citizen would first need to submit Form I-130 on behalf of their spouse and if they entered the U.S legally, they can file the I-485 adjustment of status in order to stay within the U.S.

Typically, the spouse will be issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) within a 90-day window and in some cases may be approved to travel overseas. If a green card is granted to a marriage that is less than 2 years old, a 2-year time limit will be imposed on the card. To receive a ten-year green card the couple needs to submit Form I-751 within the 90-day period before the expiration of the initial green card.

Married to a Permanent Resident?

In relation to green card applications based on marriages to citizens, there are more who fall into the category of marriages to U.S. permanent residents than married to a citizen. For that reason, the demand is often very high. As there are some risks involved in getting a green card by marriage application, our immigration attorneys review all cases very carefully to ensure a successful result.

One of the most important parts of the marriage-based green card process, which we can help you with, is the gathering and preparation of the application and supporting documents. In most situations, a marriage is valid for immigration purpose if it is recognized by the law of the state where it occurs.

However, a marriage that is legally valid may still be disregarded if it is found to be a sham marriage, entered into by the parties to obtain immigration benefits and without any intention to live together as husband and wife.

Although getting a green card through marriage can often be the easiest way to obtain residency for a non-U.S. citizen, approval is not automatic. U.S. citizens applying for a fiancée visa or marriage green card must be aware that immigration officials will scrutinize their applications to ensure that the marriage is legitimate and bona fide, and not for the sole purpose of gaining immigration benefits.

The citizen and the foreign spouse must prove that the marriage is bona fide. If the citizen and foreign spouse have been married less than 2 years at the time the spouse becomes a permanent resident, a conditional 2-year green card will be issued.

Outline of Green Card Process When Outside the U.S.

For individuals seeking a green card while outside the United States, you can first become a permanent resident through the process of consular processing. Consular processing is when the USCIS issues a visa on approved Form I-130. Upon reaching the port of entry into the U.S., you will become a permanent resident.

In the interim, you can join your spouse in the U.S. while your green card through marriage is being processed by applying for and obtaining a K-3 visa.

Why should I hire an immigration attorney?

If you have been discriminated against in the workplace or if you have been detained for deportation, it will be crucial to have a knowledgeable lawyer at your side to represent your rights in court. In addition, even legal paperwork to apply for a visa can be deeply complex. Speaking with a lawyer who has the background, experience, and knowledge will be crucial in achieving the best possible outcome in your particular case.


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