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Immigration Corner: I lied to get my green card

Published:Friday | May 22, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mrs Walker-Huntington,

If you are married and did not disclose it to the United States (US) embassy and you got a green card, what are the implications if found out?

- AW

Dear AW,

This issue of not disclosing the correct information to the US embassy is one that continues to haunt many persons in Jamaica. Providing incorrect information or failing to provide the correct information is tantamount to immigration fraud. This fraud never goes away and it can rob you of your chance to live in or visit America.

From your question I assume that you were filed for as a single person but were in fact married and accepted your green card as a single person. If you are the beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition and are single - you are processed much faster than if you are married. Sometimes people start out the process as single but because the process takes years, they marry while they are waiting.

If the petitioner is a US citizen parent and you marry during the process, your petition will change from the F1 to the F3 preference category (unmarried to married son). The F3 category takes longer than the F1, but at the end of the day yourself and your wife will be able to migrate.

If the petitioner is a green card holder who files for their unmarried son or daughter and the son or daughter marries during the process - the petition dies because a green card holder cannot file for a married son or daughter.

The immigration fraud is committed when you are married and keep that information from the embassy. You have in effect told a lie to procure an immigration benefit. You received a green card when you were not supposed to - you were either to wait longer to receive the card or were not entitled to receive the card because the petition was voided by marriage.

If you are able to fraudulently obtain the green card and travel to America, you can never file for your spouse back in Jamaica and sometimes you cannot even file for your children. You will also have to continue the lie in America because if immigration ever discovers that you received your green card when you were not supposed to, you will be placed in deportation.

- 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.