The Bonafide Marriage Dilemma
How to prove your marriage is bonafide
BEWARE! If you fall in love with someone who is not a US Citizen, then be ready for your marriage to be scrutinized. DHS asks, is it a real marriage? If so Prove it? And there lies the problem: how to prove your marriage is bonafide,
DHS wants you to show photographs, vacations, bills together, real estate together. But how do tick off DHS list of things to demonstrate a bona fide marriage if the non citizen lives abroad and you live in the US because you will probably not have shared bank accounts and real estate. And if the non citizen lives in the United States and is undocumented, the non citizen cannot open a US Bank account without a social security number.
So you improvise to prove to the adjudicator that you marriage is real. But what does the adjudicator consider to be a “real” marriage? My Aunt was married and had twelve children with her husband. They lived together with their children in a house and also had a lodger. That lodger and my aunt soon began an affair, an affair that was in plain sight for all of us. Including my uncle. This affair did not cause the demise of her marriage – they remained together for fifty plus years, although many nights she stayed in the room of ”the lodger” attended family events with “the lodger” and was overly affectionate with “the lodger”. But no matter how unconventional the arrangement, it worked for them. My aunt and uncle were in a bona fide marriage.
I think it is important to note, that I am not advocating illegal marital arrangements. Polygamy for example is illegal. However, so long as the couple are engaged in acts that are legal now do their acts impose upon our own families, we as a society typically keep out of their way.
We accept gay marriages, marriages of older men with younger women and older women with younger men. We do not accept and should not accept abusive relationships.
So, you may be asking, what should DHS do allow everyone who marries to come into this country? Of course not. There are of course sham marriages and these should not be adjudicated because they are against the law.
No, I am not saying DHS should not play a gatekeeper role. But what I am saying is DHS should not have a prescribed list of evidence for a bona fide marriage because each marriage is so different. So instead of showing these artificial monuments of a marriage, adjudicators need to evolve the way society has evolved. They should look to social media and examine the profiles of the petitioning couple. Are there references to the other online? You see we live in an age where everything that is important to us is posted to our online profiles.
I am sure if my dear aunt was a part of the social media society she would have posted numerous pictures of her and her husband. You see, there is no doubt in my mind that she loved him. They had twelve children together.
Of course they had joint bills and the children together. But what about those couples who are living in different countries…
we should not and typical do not impose our own judgement on what is and what is not a bona fide marriage. Except of cause, if one of our citizens finds themselves in love with someone who is a foreign national. This is heightened when the person happens to fall in love while in removal proceedings. In the removal context, there is a rebuttable presumption that the marriage is fraudulent unless the petitioner demonstrates that theres is a bona fide marriage.
The Supreme Court has long held that matters of family are sacred.
Citing to existing precedents, the Board defined as a “sham marriage” a marriage that is entered into for the primary purpose of circumventing the immigration laws, adding that such a marriage does not suffice for obtaining immigration benefits