Here's a Switch – Marriage Fraud in Which the Alien is the Victim

By David North on July 3, 2012

Usually the alien comes out ahead (unless caught) in fraudulent marriage schemes, but an exception appeared in Upstate New York recently.

In the most common type of immigration-related marriage fraud, he (it is usually a male) bribes a citizen or a green card holder to enter into a phony marriage and the alien winds up with a green card for himself. The resulting divorce is mutually accepted.

In another well known, but somewhat less common situation, the alien cons the citizen into what the citizen believes to be a real marriage. Then, once the two-year conditional residency period is over, the alien, with green card in hand, drops his spouse. The resulting divorce, understandably, is likely to be acrimonious.

A third variety of marriage fraud emerged in New York State courts recently when an immigrant family from India was convicted of labor trafficking for enslaving an Indian woman who had been lured to the United States in an arranged marriage.

The mother-in-law and the sister-in-law of the Indian bride (whose name has been withheld) were both sent to prison for one to three years; the husband got off with probation and community service; and the father-in-law, who had been charged with sexual abuse, was found not guilty. The news account reported that the mother-in-law had burned her daughter-in-law with an iron and the husband had bitten her on the face "as part of a pattern of punishment". In short, the in-laws from hell.

The Indian woman, who apparently had a green card prior to the marriage, had been "selected as a servant, not a bride", state judge William Nelson ruled, saying of the groom: "It was his mission to find a young Indian woman from India, not one raised in the United States."

"For three years she lived a life of involuntary servitude, waiting hand and foot for you and your family", the judge continued at the sentencing.

How the bride managed to secure a green card was not explained. That she, a newcomer to the United States, was badly treated by earlier, more sophisticated arrivals from her own country is, sadly, part of a long-standing and grim immigration tradition. The news article indicated that many in the local Indian community in Ramapo, N.Y., had rallied around the family — not the victim.

Breaking up this situation was not an accomplishment of the Department of Homeland Security; it was handled by local prosecutors working with New York State law.

In a previous blog we reported on how ill-prepared the federal government is to cope with abuse within arranged marriages. Arranged marriages, often involving people from the Indian subcontinent, are accepted by U.S. immigration authorities, and they lead to green cards for the arriving aliens.