Like many New Jersey couples have done in the past, a woman in another state recently attended a Stokes interview. She happens to be a U.S. citizen and had been married to her husband, a Nicaraguan immigrant, for three years when the date for their immigration marriage interview finally arrived. She was confident all would go well because she was prepared to show clear documentation that would substantiate the legitimacy of their marriage. The woman was left feeling completely distraught when the interview not only did not go well, it resulted in immigration detention for her spouse.
The couple went to their marriage interview armed with photo albums, printed statements from a jointly owned bank account and other hard copy evidence that their relationship is sincere. During the interview, officials asked her to step out of the room where she and her husband had been answering questions. This is not uncommon in such circumstances, as one of the means officials use to determine if a marriage is legitimate is to question spouses separately, then compare their answers.
That is not what happened in this particular situation, however. When the woman exited the room, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers moved in and placed her husband under arrest. They said they took him into custody because of a deportation order that was issued against him but left unresolved, years ago.
The woman said she fears what might happen to her and her son if her husband’s immigration detention leads to a removal, as she and the child are both disabled and rely on her spouse for physical and financial support. There are many families in New Jersey facing similar detention issues. In all such cases, a concerned spouse can access support by requesting consultation with an experienced immigration law attorney.