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How a “Green Card Marriage” Can Lead to Domestic Violence Accusations

Posted on in Domestic Violence

San Jose Green Card Marriage Domestic ViolenceFraudulent green card marriages are nothing new. With the advent of films like “The Proposal,” it is well-known that many marriages take place for the sole purpose of a green card or to avoid deportation. In 2009, about 506 of 241,154 green card petitions were denied for fraud. However, it is unknown how many fraudulent marriages have actually occurred. 

Unfortunately for many, a so-called “green card marriage” often leads to accusations of domestic violence. Immigrant victims of domestic violence do not have to wait for naturalization to divorce their spouse and stay in the U.S. Instead, they can apply for a U visa, which is a visa that provides nonimmigrant status to victims of certain qualifying crimes. U visa recipients can apply for a green card after a certain number of years. 

In order to be eligible for a U visa, the victim must agree to aid in the investigation or prosecution of the crime he or she was a victim of. 

Victims of domestic violence may also apply for legal status or apply for protection from deportation under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). 

Foreign Spouses Making False Domestic Violence Accusations for Divorce 

Immigrant domestic violence victims who do not hold permanent green cards can leave or divorce their U.S. citizen spouses without fear of deportation. 

There are several reasons as to why an immigrant will falsely accuse his or her spouse of domestic violence. Foreign spouses may wish to divorce their spouse without risk of having their immigrant status changed. They may have entered the marriage for the sole purpose of obtaining a green card and find that they do not wish to wait to be granted lawful permanent resident status. It is an especially precarious situation if both spouses agreed to marry for the sole purpose of one spouse obtaining a green card or eventual U.S. citizenship. The U.S. citizen spouse may feel stuck in the situation because he or she knows that they willingly participated in a “sham” marriage for which they could face a felony charge. 

However, if you are being accused of domestic violence by your foreign spouse, you must take the accusation seriously. Foreign spouses are granted similar rights and protections to U.S. citizen spouses. Immigrant spouses who allege domestic violence have the right to a legal divorce or separation, even if you do not wish to divorce or separate. In addition, immigrant spouses have the right to gain temporary child custody and can apply for an order of protection against you, which means you may be permitted to have limited or no contact with your spouse and your children. 

Contact a San Jose Domestic Violence Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Erik Steven Johnson, we understand the consequences a false domestic violence accusation can have on the accused and their families. If you are being accused of or charged with domestic violence, contact a San Jose criminal defense attorney today. Call our office at 408-246-3004 to schedule a free consultation. 


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