Immigration Marriage Fraud
Marriage Fraud is a big issue with USCIS. Last week I came across an article that surprised me. It said that U.S. immigration officers were ”snooping” on social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace Twitter and a host of others to check marriage fraud. While I am against marriage fraud I began to wonder if the same sources used by investigators could be equally useful in demonstrating bona fide martial relationships.
Social networking sites in so many ways have changed the way people meet in general. And these sites have even helped spark many a romantic relationship that has lead to marriage.
Marriage Fraud is Rare
While there are no doubt a few unscrupulous individuals they prey upon the lonely and desperate with immigration / marriage fraud as their goal, the fact is that many have found their true love and soul mate on the Internet. In fact, the overwhelming majority of immigration based marriages are bona fide marriages based on traditional values of love and affection.
So when it comes to marriages between foreign nationals and U.S. citizens (or permanent residents), it is becoming more and more common to find couples that have, at least initially, met and developed their relationships via social networking sites.
Do Not Engage In Marriage Fraud
According to immigration law there is absolutely nothing wrong with one marrying knowing that they will be obtaining an immigration benefit—so long as it is not the sole or primary purpose of the marriage.
With this in mind, prospective applicants for marriage based lawful permanent residency (i.e., green cards), should be aware that their record of communication between each other on Facebook and Twitter, etc. may actually present them with a new opportunity to better document and demonstrate how their relationship developed.
In fact, much of what is communicated between individuals on social networking sites is tantamount to public record and is available for nearly all to see–including DHS and U.S. Embassy interviewers and investigators. That is why it is such a great investigate tool. But it should also be used to aid in demonstrating a true, bona fide marriage and not only to uncover marriage fraud,
In cases where applicants have scant evidence of their valid relationship, they should take the time and effort to obtain additional documentary evidence including offering evidence of their social network communications, emails, text messages, etc., in addition to the traditionally accepted evidence in order to avoid allegations of marriage fraud