Married couples usually plan to live in the same house, but some are working to just be able to live in the same country. Under immigration law, U.S. citizens can sponsor their spouses’ legal residency. Although this process can take months, it is worth the effort, especially for those who are helping their undocumented spouses who are already living in New York gain legal status.
Going through a marriage interview is one of the very first steps in this process. The interview is an opportunity for a couple to demonstrate that their marriage is legitimate. However, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement prevented couples in another state from ever getting past this process.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union and six couples who filed a case against ICE, officials did not arrange marriage interviews with good intentions. Instead, ICE lured these couples in only to arrest the undocumented spouses and detain them for deportation. This violates federal regulation, which allows citizens to still sponsor their spouses even if they already have deportation orders.
The law is supposed to protect immigrants and their families, but it can also be twisted to cause harm instead. This is not an experience that anyone in New York should have to go through. Unfortunately, citizens who marry immigrants already know just how much of a challenge they are facing, which can be overwhelming. As such, a married couple who suspects they are not being treated fairly or legally should consider whether speaking with an experienced attorney would be helpful.