A Marriage Used to Prevent Deportation. Not Anymore

(NY TIMES) April 24, 2018 — They had shown the immigration officer their proof — the eight years of Facebook photos, their 5-year-old son’s birth certificate, the letters from relatives and friends affirming their commitment — and now they were so close, Karah de Oliveira thought, so nearly a normal couple.

Thirteen years after her husband was ordered deported back to his native Brazil, the official recognition of their marriage would bring him within a few signatures of being able to call himself an American. With legal papers, they could buy a house and get a bank loan. He could board a plane. They could take their son to Disney World.

Then the officer reappeared.

“I’ve got some good news and some bad news,” he said. “The good news is, I’m going to approve your application. Clearly, your marriage is real. The bad news is, ICE is here, and they want to speak with you.”

ICE was Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency charged with arresting and deporting unauthorized immigrants — including, for the moment, Fabiano de Oliveira. In a back room of the immigration office in Lawrence, Mass., two agents were waiting with handcuffs. Her husband was apologizing, saying he was sorry for putting her through all of this.

Ms. de Oliveira kissed him goodbye. “I’ll do whatever I can to get you out,” she said.

For decades, marriage to a United States citizen has been a virtual guarantee of legal residency, the main hurdle being proof that the relationship is legitimate. But with the Trump administration in fierce pursuit of unauthorized immigrants across the country, many who were ordered deported years ago are finding that jobs, home and family are no longer a defense — not even for those who have married Americans.

Source: NY Times, Marriage Used Toe Prevent Deportation. Not Anymore