Photos: Victims of Marriage Fraud Share Their Heartbreak

When most Americans walk down the aisle and say I do, they think that love will last forever. But News4 has three stories of Americans who thought they married for love — and later realized it may have been for their partner's green card.

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Jade, who lives in Virginia, says her brother fell in love with an Indian woman while on a mission trip. When he returned to the U.S., the new couple remained in contact.

n"She started pressuring him to propose to her over the phone," recalled Jade.n

nBut instead, her brother waited until his new girlfriend came to the U.S. to visit. They dated for about a month, got engaged and married a few months later. After having a baby and getting her temporary legal status, his wife filed for divorce, alleging abuse, Jade said.n

n"Wedding bells had quit ringing then she up and left," said Jade. "She claimed that he was using her immigrant status to intimidate her."n

nHis family says that the abuse never happened and that the couple agreed during divorce proceedings that she wouldn't seek the 10 years of financial support he agreed to by sponsoring her into the country and he wouldn't report her to immigration officials.
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Art, who lives in Philadelphia, says he fell in love with a Costa Rican woman while living on the island. They dated for a few years before he needed to return to the U.S.

n"I flat-out missed her and I loved her," said Art. "And I finally said, 'You know what, 'I’m ready now.'"n

nBut the marriage wasn't even one year old when he returned from a business trip to find the wife he'd sponsored into the country had moved out.

n"She said, 'I’ve left you because you were abusive,' and I felt my life was endangered,'" recalls Art. "I was flabbergasted."n

nArt is emphatic that there was never any physical or emotional abuse and now believes the marriage was a sham and that his non-citizen wife is claiming abuse in order to remain in the U.S.
Elena says she met her Dutch ex-husband while he was in the U.S. visiting a mutual friend.

nShe says they were married for two years before, on the eve of their anniversary, he said he wanted a divorce.

n"'Just sign the divorce papers' he said, 'We only did this for immigration' - and I was floored," recalls Elena. "They were the cruelest words I'd actually ever heard in my life."n

nShe didn't know it at the time, but U.S. immigration laws required the couple to be married for two years before the conditions on the immigrant's green card could be lifted.

nElena believes her husband committed marriage fraud and says she reported it to immigration officials but they refused to investigate.

n"Honestly if it was just a marriage that had gone sour, I wouldn't feel so bad," said Elena. "But I think I'm heartbroken not just by the way that he's treated me but by the way my government's treated me."n

nElena's ex-husband is still living in the U.S. and denies her allegations of marriage fraud. And he says he never claimed any sort of abuse to remain in the U.S.n

nElena has become an advocate for victims of marriage fraud, even testifying before congress last year on the topic.
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