Beware Illegal Alien Women! (And Men.)
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As proprietor of, I get a lot of interesting feedback over the transom.

One of the most unexpected trends I've found is that of American citizen husbands being forced to defend what they claim are false criminal charges of battery or spousal abuse brought by their foreign wives – all for the sake of a "green card."

I've posted some detailed letters on the subject.

Before the 1996 Immigration Act, there would have been no motive for an alien wife to make up false battery charges against her petitioning American husband. Reason: the husband's petition would have been her only hope for lawful permanent resident status.

But, almost unnoticed, the 1996 Act changed all that. Being battered is now a royal road to legal residency and, ultimately, citizenship.

Under current law, if an alien claims to have been battered, or has been the subject of extreme cruelty perpetrated by the alien's American spouse or intended spouse, the alien can get permanent resident status outright - without the spouse filing a petition at all! The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS), the most alien-friendly wing of the former INS, even publishes a "how-to" guide for the self-petitioning spouse.

Welcome to the world of the self-petitioning spouse – an oxymoron in itself, since the marriage went bust!

This raises the specter of a new breed of marriage fraud by false accusation, in an area that's notoriously stacked against the defendant.

Want a green card? No problem. Just marry an American, put up with him (her) for a while – and if you get abused, no worries, mate! Just file your own petition and get a "green card" after all!

And if you don't get abused…you can probably get away with lying.

To make sure foreign husbands won't miss out on the fun, the law is gender-neutral.

Gerard Depardieu, call your office! Forget the antics you went through in the 1990 movie Green Card! Now you just have to accuse Andie MacDowell of abusing you!

Juan Mann [send him email] is a lawyer and the proprietor of

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