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thethinker42
06-18-2017, 03:55 PM
So one of my characters is a Mexican immigrant whose visa has or is about to expire, and now he's facing deportation. He and the other MC are considering getting married so he can stay in the US. I'm researching the logistics and legalities, of course, but it never hurts to check here in case anyone has any personal experiences, "letter of the law vs spirit of the law" insights, etc.

How *do* green card marriages work? I've got a friend who married a woman from South Korea, and they had to jump through all kinds of hoops with fiancee visas and what not, but of course now I can't get ahold of him to ask about it. How complicated is the process? If they're married, can he still be deported? (obviously bearing in mind that the political climate has changed in the last several months) Anything else I might need to know but won't necessarily find on government websites?

The facts in case they make a difference:
* They're in the state of Oregon (fictional Navy base).
* The US citizen is in the Navy.
* The immigrant has lived in the US for several years, and actually served in the military for a while, but didn't get his citizenship. Has since been discharged. He had a job for a while, but was laid off, and is now working under the table while he tries to sort out his visa issues.
* Both characters are men.

Thanks in advance!

Cindyt
06-18-2017, 04:04 PM
From my own experience, I doubt marriage would justify him not getting deported. Things have changed since 2001c, because there were so many sham marriages. It doesn't always matter how long one has had a Green Card. The long he let's his lapse the worse it will go for him/her. Why can't your character renewed?" I know that wouldn't make for a sexy story, but law is law. I know deal firsthand.

Cyia
06-18-2017, 05:49 PM
If it's a realistic story, then there's not much you can do to your guy here. Marriage, even shared children born in the US aren't enough to keep a hetero couple together if one's visa runs out (it's been this way for years), so a non-hetero couple without kids isn't going to stand a chance.

You *might* be able to get some kind of asylum deal going if your non-citizen gets his case heard before the visa runs out, especially if his boyfriend is in the military and can get a superior officer to speak for him. If he faces a significant risk of danger should he return home, that could be grounds for asylum, but it's not an easy claim to make.

The bigger the brass the sailor can get on their side, the better. Start with the chaplain and the direct C.O. and see if they can go up the chain from there. "Scott wants Jorge to stay in the US" has a lot less pull than: "30 year navy veteran and war hero Admiral Jones would like to call in a favor for one of his men and his fiance. Who can make this happen?"

thethinker42
06-18-2017, 10:19 PM
Good to know, especially someone in the military having some pull. *ponders* That gives me a good place to start. Thanks!

WeaselFire
06-19-2017, 12:38 AM
So one of my characters is a Mexican immigrant whose visa has or is about to expire, and now he's facing deportation. He and the other MC are considering getting married so he can stay in the US.

I've got a friend who married a woman from South Korea, and they had to jump through all kinds of hoops with fiancee visas and what not, but of course now I can't get ahold of him to ask about it.

The problem is that these are two different types of visas and not interchangeable. A simple work visa isn't going to allow marriage and stop deportation. A resident alien is a different issue, as is a tourist visa. A green card implies a legal resident alien, which is often granted to the spouse of an alien, which is the reason marriages like this occur.

The second problem, if you really do mean a green card, then he is a permanent resident and won't be deported. He can freely marry or not. Which makes me think you don't really mean he holds a green card. He can get a green card through marriage and he can marry without a green card. If has a work visa and gets married, perfectly legal, then it's basically filling out forms and providing documentation, then going for an interview and you're done. There are some requirements for income, actually living together as husband and wife for a period of time and so on, but it's not difficult if he already has a work visa and employment. Especially with veteran status.

Done properly, he will either renew his visa, get married and apply for the change in legal status or, if his visa lapses, he will return to Mexico, voluntarily is best, get married, then apply through his consulate. He has a few pluses for having already gotten a work visa but, if he is illegal, then he's going to be toast and have trouble.

Jeff

Siri Kirpal
06-19-2017, 02:23 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I'm chiming in on something else. Naval port in Oregon? We don't have a whole lot of harbors, especially compared to Washington and California. If there's a naval base here it's news to me.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal, who grew up in San Diego (naval city) and lives in Oregon

thethinker42
06-19-2017, 02:36 AM
I'm chiming in on something else. Naval port in Oregon? We don't have a whole lot of harbors, especially compared to Washington and California. If there's a naval base here it's news to me.

As I said in the post, it's a fictional base. (And you'd be amazed where the Navy winds up stationing people, she said after spending 3 years in Nebraska of all places...)

Siri Kirpal
06-19-2017, 02:40 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I did read the bit about the naval station being fictional. Just giving you a caution to give a reason it's there.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

veinglory
06-19-2017, 03:29 AM
I guess it depends on the details but I total know someone who married their way into permanent status in the last year. It was fairly easy.

thethinker42
06-19-2017, 02:38 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I did read the bit about the naval station being fictional. Just giving you a caution to give a reason it's there.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Well aware. ;) It's an established series, so it's not really a changeable detail at this point, but I did my research and chose the area for a reason.

Lakey
06-19-2017, 02:46 PM
I guess it depends on the details but I total know someone who married their way into permanent status in the last year. It was fairly easy.

My sister-in-law did, and she and my brother had to go through a few rounds of interviews with immigration officials to prove that their marriage was a "real" marriage and not just a sham for greencard purposes. Among other things, my brother collected a whole album of pictures of us behaving like a genuine family, such as pictures from holidays, or pictures I had taken of all of us when my brother visited with my sister-in-law and her daughter (my brother's step-daughter).

That said, I do not know how immigration views same-sex marriages, in practice. I believe federal officials are supposed to respect state laws about what is or isn't a legal marriage, but I do not know whether that has been successfully tested in the case of greencard decisions for same-sex spouses. I do believe that the immigration officials who make such decisions have a lot of discretion, which both means results can vary widely and also that they can be difficult to appeal (and thereby make case law out of). But I haven't researched the question so I don't know whether there are legal precedents yet.

veinglory
06-19-2017, 05:37 PM
The couple I know had just met. Given that people who just met are allowed to make sudden decisions to get married, the interview wasn't a problem.

Lakey
06-19-2017, 05:44 PM
The couple I know had just met. Given that people who just met are allowed to make sudden decisions to get married, the interview wasn't a problem.

... and possibly also given that they had a sympathetic immigration officer who was in a good mood on that day, and possibly also given a bunch of other factors that would be impossible to prove. There is definitely some luck involved.

My brother and sister-in-law did not have a terrible time - after all, eventually she did get a greencard and all's well that ends well - but they did have to go through more than one round of interviews and make a lot of follow-up phone calls to keep the process moving. Some factors that might have worked in their favor - my brother is white and middle-class and clean-cut and a schoolteacher and other things that make him generally likable to people with authority. Some factors that might not have worked in their favor - my sister-in-law is Black, and from the Caribbean, and had been living undocumented in the US for some time. Who knows?

The important thing here is that there is a lot of leeway and discretion, and a lot of different factors that can contribute to a decision. Which can be useful for the OP, if she is looking for ways to introduce suspense and capriciousness into the process.

Orianna2000
06-28-2017, 12:36 AM
Regarding naval bases, I noticed just the other day that there's a naval base in Memphis. Which is in Tennessee, nowhere near the ocean. There's a river, of course, but it still seems rather odd. I asked my husband (facetiously) , "Do they think New Orleans is going to send ships up the Mississippi to invade Memphis?"

No idea why there's a naval base in Memphis, but there you go.

thethinker42
06-28-2017, 12:40 AM
Regarding naval bases, I noticed just the other day that there's a naval base in Memphis. Which is in Tennessee, nowhere near the ocean. There's a river, of course, but it still seems rather odd. I asked my husband (facetiously) , "Do they think New Orleans is going to send ships up the Mississippi to invade Memphis?"

No idea why there's a naval base in Memphis, but there you go.

There's also a Navy presence in Nebraska (ask me how I know >.<). Not every base has ships attached to it -- sometimes just aircraft, for example.

Though when asked why we were being sent to Nebraska, I deadpanned to another military spouse that, quote, "Because the east and west coasts are so far apart, the middle of the country is vulnerable. So now there's a top secret stealth aircraft carrier patrolling the Missouri River." She kind of eyed me like she couldn't decide if I was trolling her, and right then a senior chief turned around, glared at me, and said, "You're not supposed to talk about that."

I'm pretty sure she still believes me.

Mondo
06-28-2017, 01:25 AM
If he served in the military and was honorably discharged, he should be eligible for citizenship in his own right.

https://www.uscis.gov/news/fact-sheets/naturalization-through-military-service-fact-sheet

It is one year in peacetime or any length of time served during the post 9/11 period.

heykatydid
06-30-2017, 12:08 PM
I'm in the process of getting my non-American husband a green card right now. PM me if you would like the specifics of all it involves (and it is a LOT) and takes about a year to actually process the visa/green card in it's first conditional stage.

braveboy
08-01-2017, 03:00 AM
The base there is in aMemphis suburb called Millington. It was an army base from the time of the first world war up to the second and then the navy took over. My opinion is that it's there
due to political clout and nothing else. when I was stationed there it was home to a lot of aviation schools for Marines and Navy personnel (learning to fix things, not fly them) and
after I left, the schools were transferred to Pensacola and the base was scheduled to be closed. again, political clout... all of a sudden there was a need for the Bureau of Navy Personnel
in Millington Tn. it had only been in washington dc for about a zillion years.
my personal opinion of the place..? I couldn't get out of there fast enough.