Legal Question in Immigration Law in Illinois

Sham marriage for immigration status

I'm a writer working on a screenplay in which a U.S. citizen marries friend (an immigrant) in order to keep the friend from being deported. Questions: -- what are the requirements to receive political asylum in the U.S. as an immigrant? -- I know that after getting married, the U.S. citizen has to file a petition for the spouse's permanent residence, and the couple has to pass an interview. Are there any other requirements, and is there a specific time frame for all of this (e.g.,, it has to be accomplished within 90 days)? -- what are the penalties if a sham marriage is exposed?

I know that this may cover a lot of ground, so a brief overview of the process is fine. I just want to make sure the details are accurtate -- and I can't make heads or tails of anything on the INS site! Thanks.

Asked on 4/28/98, 11:16 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Carolyn Goldfarb Carolyn S. Goldfarb, Esq.

sham marriage for immigration status

The penalties for a sham marriage are: 1. The alien is permanently barred from immigrating to the US on the basis of any kind of petition being filed on his behalf for the rest of his life. There is no waiver or pardon. 2. Of course he can be removed (ie. deported) from the US 3. he can be prosecuted criminally and be imprisoned for up to 5 years, fined up to $250,000 or imprisioned up to fine years and fined up to $250,000.

political asylum - demonstrate that he will be persected on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, membership in a social group if he were forced to return to his country of nationality.

not be firmly resettled in another country prior to coming to US.

must apply within one year of coming to US absent special circumstances.

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Answered on 5/21/98, 9:08 pm

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