A version of this article first appeared in the Side Bar journal for the Litigation…
There are two main ways to file a report of marriage immigration fraud:
- Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE is the enforcement arm of the immigration agencies – think of them as the immigration police. Their investigations office, HIS, has a marriage fraud tip line: 1-866-347-2423. The primary focus of their marriage fraud investigations is commercial criminal enterprises. They are mostly interested in investigating “mail-order” marriages, and scenarios where a U.S. citizen has been paid to marry a foreign national.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Serivces (USCIS). This option is appropriate especially if the couple’s immigration paperwork is still pending with USCIS. This could be the case if they are still waiting on an I-130/I-485 adjustment of status application, or an I-751 petition to remove conditions on residency. You may contact the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to report fraud. Alternatively, you can visit infopass.uscis.gov to set an InfoPass appointment at the local USCIS office. To make the report, you should gather application receipt numbers for pending cases, as well as specific evidence of the alleged fraud. The information may get placed in the foreign spouse’s Alien file (the main immigration file), but there is no guaranteed mechanism to ensure this happens.
As a practical matter, these reports generally do not result in an investigation of the foreign spouse. When a couple separates there are often hard feelings on both sides, and the immigration authorities are well aware of this. Just as a divorce judge will be skeptical about allegations made by people in a divorce, the immigration authorities will take reports of fraud with a grain of salt.