Three Ways to Combat Marriage Fraud

Press Releases

April 4, 2018

IRLI submits comment to USCIS on preventing abuse of immigration laws

WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has submitted a comment to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on ways to improve the agency’s data collection to identify marriage fraud as a means of exploiting our immigration laws. The comment focuses on proposed improvements to USCIS’s Form I-129F, which must be approved by the agency before a foreign fiancé can apply for a K-1 visa.

The procedures for bringing foreign-born fiancées into the country have been a growing concern. Most notably, the December 2015 mass shooting in San Bernadino, Calif., was perpetrated by Syed Farook and his Pakistani-born wife, Tashfeen Malik, who came to the United States via the Form I-129F and a K-1 fiancée visa process.

IRLI made three recommendations to reduce fraud through the I-129F application process:

Extend the number of years both petitioners and beneficiaries must report address and employment history from at least five years to ten.

“Requiring applicants to report on address and employment history for more than five years is hardly unreasonable and is currently a common requirement for certain professional licenses in the United States,” IRLI wrote.

Include questions regarding social media use, including any aliases or internet names used, on the Form I-129F.

“A simple review of social media activity could detect insincere motives for the engagement or other red flags that the intended marriage is not genuine,” the comment read. “It could also assist federal law enforcement in discovering potential public safety or national security threats. …”

IRLI recommends that USCIS consider requiring an in-person interview as part of the Form I-129F process.

“During an in-person interview,” the comment read, “an individual seeking to commit immigration fraud will often forget important details, thereby alerting the interviewer that the immigration benefit application is fraudulent.”

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

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