Forced Marriage and Immigration | Illinois
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Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices
DuPage County Attorneys


900 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard, IL 60148

Phone: 630-932-9100


134 N. Bloomingdale Road, Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Phone: 630-529-4761


1730 Park Street, Suite 202, Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: 630-420-1000

Forced Marriage and Immigration

Posted on in Immigration
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Illinois immigration lawyerForced marriage means that one or both people have been forced into a marriage that is against their will. The United States considers forced marriage to be a serious human rights abuse and is working domestically and abroad to end the practice. Those who have been or are being forced into marriage are victims. As such, they have not broken any laws of the United States and may be eligible for immigration relief.

What is a Forced Marriage?

When an individual does not have a choice on who they marry or when the marriage takes place, that is a forced marriage. Forced marriages can be accompanied by threats of physical or emotional abuse, deception, or even threats to immigration status. It can happen in any culture and to people from any educational and economic background. In the United States, perpetrators of forced marriage may be charged with crimes including domestic violence, assault, kidnapping, child abuse if the victim is underage, rape, threats of violence, and other charges.

Differences Between a Forced Marriage and an Arranged Marriage

An arranged marriage, when families play a role in selecting marriage partners, is not the same as a forced marriage. In an arranged marriage, both parties are allowed to choose if and when they want to get married. In a forced marriage, not only are the partners selected by the families, but they have no choice on whether or when to marry.

Forced Marriage and the Immigration Process

If a forced marriage is part of an immigration case, there can be severe consequences for the perpetrators. Anyone who forces another individual to marry against their will may be removed from or denied admission to the United States. Any noncitizen who is in a forced marriage or may be forced to marry someone may be eligible for different types of relief in the U.S. immigration process. These include:

  • Being granted asylum
  • Being classified as a Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) if underage
  • Qualifying under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  • Receiving a waiver of the joint filing requirement for family-based conditional permanent residents
  • Being granted a T visa, or T nonimmigrant status, which is for victims of human trafficking
  • Being granted a U visa, or U nonimmigrant status, which is for victims of certain qualifying crimes

U.S. citizens are also sometimes forced to sponsor someone for an immigration benefit, including a spouse, fiancé, or another permanent resident. In this case, it is important to seek confidential legal advice to ensure your safety and discuss your legal options.

Contact an Illinois Immigration Attorney

Unfortunately, forced marriages still occur across the world, including in the United States. The U.S. immigration system offers relief and legal protections to victims of forced marriages. If you or someone you know is in a forced marriage and fears for their safety, including their immigration status, we can provide skilled legal representation. At Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices, your case will be handled by a dedicated and qualified Illinois immigration lawyer who can work to safely handle your case. Call us today for a free confidential consultation at 630-932-9100.



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