Becoming the spouse of an American citizen is supposed to be one of the most straightforward methods of immigrating to the United States, particularly if the fiancé or fiancée is granted a K-1 visa for the purpose of getting married here. In most cases, these petitions are approved without incident. When they’re denied, it’s often because immigration adjudicators either determined or suspected relationship fraud, but there are also cases derailed because of mistakes and issues of a technical nature.
According to statistical reviews conducted by the Cato Institute, the overall rate of immigration denials during the administration of former president Donald Trump jumped by 37 percent. This included visas, work permits, adjustment of status, and green cards. During Trump’s term, there were nearly 400 immigration policy changes, and the Cato Institute characterized this situation as an all-out attack on legal immigration. If we look at the numbers of the final visa refusal report issued by the State Department, which includes K-1 visas for prospective green card marriages, we see the denial rate jumped from 12.6 percent in 2017 to more than 20 percent in 2019. The overall number of legal immigrants admitted during the Trump administration was 738,000 fewer than during the previous administration.
Marriage-based petitions represent a quarter of all adjustment of status cases approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. On the surface, the process seems simple and advantageous. However, seasoned San Diego immigration attorneys will tell you these cases are also among the most closely scrutinized. In 2007, the Center for Immigration Studies looked into a short-lived trend that involved marriage brokers who matched foreign women with U.S. citizens who wanted to make a quick buck through immigration fraud. CIS researchers weren’t able to get concrete figures on the number of denials that were specifically tied to sham marriages, and they felt this was a lack of information by design. In other words, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are more interested in issuing press releases when they take down immigration fraud rings than keeping track of marriage-related denials.
To make sure a marriage-based green card petition is successful, immigration law firms remind their clients that:
• Getting married in the U.S. is always better because legal recognition of the marriage is guaranteed.
• Proving a bona fide marriage comes down to disproving all suspicion. The relationship must be genuine, and this includes key aspects such as sharing joint bank accounts, insurance policies, and photo albums.
• When the time comes to sit down for an interview, case adjudicators will ask questions that let them gauge if there’s any intent to defraud the immigration system.
Overcoming the denial of a green card because of suspected marriage fraud can be done by filing Form I-130 if certain information didn’t match or was insufficient. In some cases, immigration law firms can petition for reviews before the Board of Immigration Appeals.
For more information on issues such as citizenship, naturalization, and family-based immigration, San Diego residents should reach out to the experienced immigration attorneys at KS Visa Law. Call us today at 858-874-0711 to schedule an appointment.