The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is touting two convictions, it obtained against defendants for marriage fraud in federal court. In one case, a Jamaican national named Erica Harrison came to the United States on a temporary work visa in 2007. According to prosecutors, she offered Robert Kenneth Cruz, an American citizen, the sum of $6,000 to marry her. They were married on August 15, 2011, and subsequently petitioned for Harrison to receive lawful permanent resident status based on the marriage.
The USCIS viewed the marriage as a sham procured merely as the basis for Harrison to obtain continued residency status. The consequences have now ensnared both of these spouses. Cruz pled guilty on March 27, 2014 and awaits sentencing in November where he will face a maximum sentence of 5 years. Harrison, who will be sentenced in October, faces the same sentencing range. It is likely that the reason Cruz’s sentencing occurs after the hearing in Harrison’s case is because the prosecutors may recommend some leniency for Cruz provided he “cooperates” or gives testimony favorable to the prosecution’s case during the sentencing hearing for Harrison.
In a second case, the USCIS won the conviction of Cassandra Hamilton, who pleaded guilty on April 15, 2014 and received 15 months in federal prison for engaging in a conspiracy to commit marriage fraud. Hamilton arranged several marriages over many years between U.S. and Jamaican citizens for the purpose of enabling the Jamaican citizens to obtain residency and citizenship and was paid for her involvement in arranging the marriages. Her case is distinguishable from the case of Ms. Harrison as it demonstrates that the USCIS not only initiates prosecutions of spouses who marry for what it perceives as fraudulent purposes but also targets others who facilitate such marriages.
The Shulman Law Group endeavors to ensure its clients be kept abreast of all significant developments relating to the process of immigration to the United States. Edward Shulman, Esq, founder of The Shulman Law Group, LLC is a national speaker for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). AILA is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, and to advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice. In the course of Mr. Shulman's involvement with AILA, he has been dedicated to educating other immigration attorneys about the import of helping intending immigrants to navigate a new cultural system. He meticulously follows all of the developments occurring in the battle over immigration reform so that he will be prepared to effectively assist his clients obtain residency if a new system is enacted.