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The Human face of the Immigration system that trys …but fails sometimes…..

[ Inderjit Singh and Shari Feldman at home in Queens. “I couldn’t live without him,” Ms. Feldman said. But they fear he could be deported. ]

The New York Times and other papers have run stories on the human faces of immigration….

Here’s another one…

A couple married ten years that is trying to get into the system legitimately…..

And has trouble….

“Our marriage certificate is so old, it’s yellow,” Ms. Feldman, 51, joked over the Bollywood soundtrack that blared from the TV. “Hey, honey, would you turn that down?”

Yet three petitions and five marriage interviews have failed to convince federalimmigration authorities that the couple’s union is not a charade to get a green card for Mr. Singh, 45, a car service driver from India.

Last year, after they reapplied with a new lawyer, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services refused to interrogate them again, citing the conflicting answers they gave four years ago to questions like what Mr. Singh wore at their 1993 wedding and whether he had taken Ms. Feldman out to eat on her last birthday.

The couple may be an extreme case, but they are not alone. Asimmigration authorities have stepped up efforts to ferret out sham marriages among hundreds of thousands of petitions by United States citizens seeking green cards for their foreign spouses, cases of longtime couples cast into limbo have multiplied.

Petitions by 20,507 citizens were denied in the last fiscal year, or 7.2 percent of the total; of these, only 506 were for fraud, and the rest were for reasons like discrepancies in the couples’ answers or not showing up for an interview.

One Florida pair spent two years fighting for recognition of their seven-year marriage, and in the end had to prove their love to an immigration court to halt the wife’s deportation back to Peru; a nun testified on behalf of the couple, who worked at a flea market in Tampa.

In an Oregon case, it took four years and two federal lawsuits to force the agency to accept the marriage of an American woman and her Algerian husband, despite the birth of two children; it emerged in legal discovery that government investigators had collected hundreds of pages of information on the wife and her associates.

Immigration officials, who say they cannot discuss individual cases, acknowledge that mistakes are sometimes made. But they point out that the burden of proof is on the couple, and that the duration of a marriage can cut two ways.

“They’ve been married 8, 10 years, and they don’t know a thing about each other?” asked Barbara Felska, a veteran in the Stokes unit, the New York office that quizzes spouses separately, then compares their answers to determine whether their relationship is real. “You don’t know his medical conditions, or that he has high blood pressure?”

The predicament of Ms. Feldman and Mr. Singh reflects what legal scholars see as a growing tension in national values between the protection of marriage from government intrusion, and the regulation of marriage through immigration laws.

The couple has appealed, but they worry that Mr. Singh will meanwhile be deported.


June 14, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Family, Government, Health, Law, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Travel, Updates, Women | , , | Leave a comment