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Opinion

Wife’s green card in jeopardy

IMMIGRATION CORNER - Michael J. Gurfinkel - The Philippine Star

Recently, a couple consulted with me concerning the wife’s application for naturalization. The husband had been petitioned by an employer, and his wife obtained her green card as the husband’s “derivative” on that petition.

Now, after being an immigrant for more than five years, the wife decided to apply for US citizenship. She went to the interview and everything seemed to be going fine, as she answered the questions and passed the history and civics test. The officer told her he would need to review the file some more.

A few days later, a notice arrived, asking for additional information, evidence and documents. But what caused panic for the husband and wife was that among the documents being requested was “verification” that the husband remain employed by his petitioning employer after his green card was approved.

The problem was the husband had stopped working for that employer years before their green cards were approved. Therefore, the wife would not be able to provide verification that her husband worked for the petitioning employer after his green card was approved. Now, her green card could be in jeopardy and, of course, her application for naturalization could be denied, based on her having “unlawfully” obtained her green card through fraud.

I have written several immigration articles and posted several videos on my YouTube channel, US Immigration TV, about employment-based green cards through PERM or labor certification. One of the basic requirements is that once the green card is approved, the worker must work for that employer for a reasonable time. That is the whole basis for the petition: an employer needs a worker, and once the green card is approved, the worker will work for the employer. If the person never worked for the petitioning employer, or stopped working before the green card was approved, it could be considered that they obtained their green card through fraud.

By way of example or comparison, if a person marries a US citizen who petitions them as a spouse, it is expected that the couple will live together. The green card is typically approved based on the officer being satisfied that once the green card is approved, the couple will live together. But if the couple never lived together, or if they divorced before the marital green card is approved without disclosing this to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it could be considered fraud or a fixed marriage.

To be continued

US CITIZENSHIP

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