Many Florida immigrants entered the United States on marriage-based visas. For some, attaining U.S. citizenship is a primary goal. The process is lengthy and often arduous. If government officials suspect that a marriage is fraudulent, meaning it was entered into for the sole purpose of becoming a U.S. citizen, serious legal problems may arise for both spouses.
In another state, a city treasurer who happens to be a descendant of famed underground railroad director, Harriet Tubman, is facing numerous federal charges. In addition to embezzlement, the Tubman descendant is also accused of entering a sham marriage in order to obtain U.S. citizenship. FBI agents arrested the man on a recent Friday.
The mayor of Philadelphia says the man, who emigrated from Liberia, has been fired from his position as treasurer. The accusations state that he and his wife were already married and had children together but entered additional separate marriages to acquire U.S. citizenship while still being married to each other. If convicted of the crimes with which he is charged, he faces a maximum of 45 years behind bars and more than $1 million in fines.
Those who emigrate from other countries to Florida and wish to become naturalized U.S. citizens must navigate a complex legal process that includes studying and taking several tests to show proficiency in English and U.S. history. The court does not look favorably on those who try to cut corners or “beat” the system by entering sham marriages to help them acquire citizenship. If someone has questions about marriage-based visas or other legal issues related to the topic, he or she can request a meeting with an experienced immigration law attorney for support.