Mon | Dec 10, 2018

He tricked me. Now I want him gone.

Published:Tuesday | October 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

My sister, who is a United States (US) citizen, married a Jamaican who got his temporary green card in June. He is now in the US and my sister has now found out he only married her to get to come to the US to get his green card. What are her options? I know one is that if both parties do not show up 90 days before the temporary visa expires, the Jamaican will automatically be deported. Does she have to wait until then? What can she do now to get him out of the US? What documents or proof need to be submitted to get him out of the country?

- NG


Dear NG,

A person who receives a green card through marriage and at the time of the granting of the green card has been married for less than two years receives a two-year conditional residence green card. They are required to jointly file with their US citizen spouse to remove the condition on the green card one year and nine months after the card is issued (or 90 days before it expires). If the immigrant is no longer living with his or her spouse from whom he or she qualified for permanent residence, he or she must divorce and file a single petition to remove the condition and request a waiver of the joint filing requirement.

Failure to file a joint petition does not automatically lead to the deportation of the immigrant - but it can. Half of all marriages end in divorce, and the US government understands that not all immigration-based marriages will survive, hence the ability of the immigrant to file a single petition to remove the condition. The immigrant has to prove that the marriage was valid and that he or she lived with his or her US citizen spouse - albeit for a short time.

In your sister's case, if she has some proof that her husband only married her for the green card, she can contact US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) and report his actions. She does not have to wait until it is time to remove the condition on her husband's green card; she can make her report now. She should, however, be sure of her suspicions before she contacts USCIS as this report could alter her husband's future if it is false.

n Dahlia A. Walker-Huntington is a Jamaican-American attorney who practises immigration law in the United States, and family, criminal, and personal-injury law in Florida. She is a mediator, arbitrator, and special magistrate in Broward County, Florida, and an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College's School of Justice.