Chain migration, unfortunately, is not only quite legal in the United States (but less so in other nations), it drives most of our immigration numbers.
Meanwhile, immigration/related marriage fraud (which is the subject of less enforcement here than elsewhere), is totally illegal but a lesser force in immigration numbers.
All too often these forces move together.
Moving from the abstract to the all-too-specific, I have had the opportunity over the last couple of months to learn about a two-family case study in which these two forces interact and reinforce each other, in one distressing, emotion-laden, ongoing situation. It offers an on-the ground view of how our immigration processes work – or don’t work.
It looks to me like a crime-in-process, and may involve, before it’s over, a trifecta of marriage fraud, all involving one hard-driving alien. There are eight people in this drama, seven of whom are from the subcontinent and Muslims. Their interaction with the U.S. immigration system started in 1991, and may continue well beyond 2016. The authorities know about some aspects of the case, but there is no evidence of any official action.
Let’s turn to the eight people involved, their four, and perhaps soon, five marriages, and their two or maybe three divorces.
There are five women (A, B, C, D, and E) all either wives or daughters of M, the leading player; the other two men are N (who lost his wife to M) and O, who is the 19-year-old son of N. I have the real names of the players, and have seen a treasure-trove of relevant documents, but am not using their names on the grounds that no official actions have been taken and that I have information from only one of the actors, N. It is a grim story.
Chronologically it started quietly in 1991 when N, then 25, arrived from Pakistan, first as a tourist and then apparently (there are some gaps in this story) as an F-1 student.
The chain migration began a little later when C arrived in 1997, who was also from Pakistan, with her parents and siblings. She was admitted as a niece under the family preference system for siblings (and their children) of U.S. citizens. (This is the fourth and least rational of the family preference categories, something that should have been dropped decades ago.)
N and C found each other later that year, and got married, which moved N into permanent resident status, one of the marriages in our story and the second link of chain migration. The next year they had a son, O. The marriage, apparently not a happy one, lasted for 17 years until C secured a divorce from N in 2014.
Meanwhile M and A, both born in India, and both Muslim, married in 1995. In short order (the births were nine months and 18 days apart) they had their daughters D and E in 1996 and 1997. M, A, D, and E lived in India; and A, D, and E still do.
Nothing much happened for a number of years with either family until M came to America on a tourist visa in 2013, and then events moved into high gear. N has told me that M and A had arranged a phony divorce in India so that M could secure a green card through marriage here and then, after a while, divorce the American and re-unite with his original wife, A. I do not know if that is the case, but M’s subsequent history may be seen as reinforcing that view.
M and N and C were soon in touch with each other in the United States. M married C’s USC friend, B, a young African American woman in 2013, with N telling me that B did so on the urging of C, and that he (N) had a cellphone tape in which M said that it was a paper marriage. The marriage lasted about 18 months and then there was a divorce. During that time M’s presence in the United States was that (I suspect) of a conditional resident because of the marriage to B.
This sounds like the first of what may be three instances of immigration/marriage fraud.
Within a couple of weeks of the divorce from B, M married C to the despair of N who regards this as the second instance of marriage-related immigration fraud. M and C now live together with O, and O’s two siblings.
N is worried that M – whom seems to get his way most of the time – may be on the verge of causing a forced marriage of O (N’s 18-year-old son) and one of M’s daughters, who are, he says, both single and 19 and 20 years of age, respectively. The son and the daughters have not met, but, according to N, M has arranged it so that they are playing international internet games together. There is nothing in Georgia law that would make a marriage between step-siblings illegal (there are, after all, no blood connections.) The point of such a marriage, N argues, would be to secure green card status for another member of M’s family.
If M can pull this off, it would be the third leg of a trifecta in migration/marriage fraud.
I have turned all this information, with real names and dates of birth, to a USCIS official, but have few hopes that this will lead to an investigation. N’s previous efforts in this direction have come to naught.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see whether the marriage of the step-siblings comes to pass, and whether M will stay with C once he (M) gets his green card later this year. I am sure that N will tell me all, so stay tuned.