Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments


Amending the McCarran-Walter Immigration and Naturalization Act (1952), the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986 specified a two-year residency requirement for alien spouses and children before obtaining permanent resident status. By provisions of the amendment, a couple is required to apply for permanent status within 90 days of the end of the conditional two-year period. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) could then interview the couple in order to satisfy themselves that 1) the marriage was not arranged “for the purpose of procuring an alien’s entry as an immigrant, 2) the marriage was still legally valid, and 3) a fee was not paid for the filing of the alien’s petition. Punitively, the amendment made such marriage fraud punishable by up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines, further grounds for deportation, and a permanent bar to future applications. The amendment also required that aliens contracting marriages after the beginning of deportation proceedings live two years outside the United States before becoming eligible for permanent resident status. A related amendment of 1990 allowed for exemptions in the case of wife or child battering, or if clear evidence could be presented to show that the marriage was contracted in good faith and not for the purpose of gaining residency.
See also picture brides.

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