After committing marriage fraud, can I get a U.S. green card some other way than marriage?

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Question:

I live in the U.S. without any immigration papers, after a visa overstay. I married a U.S. citizen and she filed the immigration paperwork for me, but I hadn’t told her I was already married. So we got in trouble for marriage fraud. I think I was supposed to go to court, but I moved to another state. Now someone would like to offer me a job and sponsor me for immigration. And I’ve gotten a divorce and have a new fiance, who is a U.S citizen and would probably help me apply for a green card, but I doubt the immigration people would believe me that this marriage was real. How big a problem will my past marriage fraud be?

Answer:

Actually, you’ve got several problems, and they're pretty big ones, as follows:

  1. Marriage fraud. There is a legal bar to getting a new visa petition approved on your behalf after having been found to have entered into a past fraudulent marriage. This comes from Section 204(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.). It doesn’t matter what type of visa petition is now filed for you– for instance, if your employer was willing to sponsor you for either a nonimmigrant visa or a green card, that would in all likelihood be denied based on Section 204(b). The same goes if you got married again and your new U.S. fiance tried to petition for a green card for you.
  2. Fraud and inadmissibility. A whole separate section of the immigration laws makes someone who has committed any sort of fraud to get a U.S. visa or green card “inadmissible,” that is, ineligible for a visa or green card or other U.S. entry or admission. (See I.N.A. Section 212(a)(6)(C)(i).) A waiver is available if you can show extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent.
  3. Past deportation proceedings. If you were supposed to attend a hearing in immigration court, and failed to show up, the judge should have entered an in absentia order of removal in your file. In other words, you are expected to have left the U.S. long ago. With an outstanding order of removal, you can be picked up and deported at any time — including if you submit an immigration application. See “Ordered Removed in Absentia: What Can I Do?” for more information.

Definitely set up a consultation with a U.S. immigration attorney to get a full analysis of your situation and see what avenues might be open to you.

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