Suppose you are a deaf prisoner on death row, an illegal alien with Tay-Sachs (a medical condition unrelated to deafness), unfairly convicted of an ax murder that you say was done by your (illegal alien) cousin.
I don’t know if anyone really meets that description, but if they did they would be in a heap of trouble — and there would be lots of agencies willing to help them.
There would be the American Civil Liberties Union, the Innocence Project, a Tay-Sachs organization, various immigration outfits, and a lawyer-relative of mine who keeps successfully suing a state penal organization for mistreating deaf inmates (and keeps being paid legal fees by the state for her victories).
On the other hand, suppose that you are a totally innocent citizen who was duped into marriage by a (probably younger, probably better looking) alien who married you not because you are a good, warm person, but because the marriage leads to a green card. Said alien having deserted you as soon as the document was issued by the (in this case) obtuse Department of Homeland Security. In all likelihood, a Department of Justice-funded non-profit would have given the scheming alien legal advice and assistance.
Would any agency come to the rescue of you, the citizen?
I have been dealing with this kind of marriage-related immigration fraud for years, constantly hearing from the just-described victims and talking to the handful of activists in this sad field.
The answer is “no”, there is no foundation or government-funded agency that will talk with you, much less defend you in court. None.
While probably no more than 2 or 3 percent of visa-creating marriages fit the description above, maybe 10,000 a year at the most, each such marriage brings heartbreak to the duped citizen, and often financial disaster. This comes in two ways: 1) the citizen spends money trying, in vain, to get the green card revoked and a favorable divorce; 2) judges often award life-long alimony to the alien, who, almost always, earns less than the citizen.
In many, though not all, of these cases the alien spouse contends (usually falsely) that the citizen spouse has been abusive. This puts the alien in a position in which the alien can self-petition for legal status on the grounds that the alien is (or was) an immediate relative of a citizen, which leads to a visa that comes with no numerical ceilings. DHS, which does not want to run a set of divorce courts along with its other duties, routinely rules for the alien, and rarely even tells the citizen of the alien’s application. There is pro-alien language in the Violence Against Women Act that facilitates the DHS position.
Why are the citizen victims of these alien fraudsters so badly represented?
There are several reasons.
In the first place, they are a scattered population in terms of geography and social connections. There are no bars or union halls for them to gather and join forces.
Secondly, and this is painful for me to write, many of them are an inherently disadvantaged population — the very opposite of the cool kids we all knew and sometimes envied in high school and college. They are, by definition, less marriageable than the run of the mill Americans — they had, after all, to look overseas for potential mates.
The aliens meanwhile, in these cases, are not looking for a warm, loving Miss America with a PhD, or for an ego-less Tom Brady — they want someone they can exploit; and so the citizen may be twice the age of the alien, may have limited English, and may be badly damaged in one way or the other. One such victim I am in touch with, for example, has a 100 percent disability rating with the Veterans’ Administration, the result of head injuries caused when his Humvee was hit by an Iraqi missile. In short, many have few advantages beyond U.S. citizenship. (Most of these exploitive marriages are with citizens. An alien can get a green card through marrying a green card holder, but this is longer process, and, of course, there are a lot more citizens than green card holders.)
Other disadvantages include the complex nature of the problem; it is a manipulation of a system totally unknown to other Americans. Then there is a feeling among some observers that the citizen should have known better than to marry the alien in the first place.
Whatever the reason, this is a small, badly exploited citizen population with absolutely no institutional support.