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ICE complicates family immigration for married couples

Getting married is a big deal. But some people in Louisiana have a lot more to think about than just the decorations and what to wear. U.S. citizens who are sponsoring their spouses have to deal with the complicated family immigration process. Sadly, these couples are not always treated fairly.

According to federal regulations, citizens who marry undocumented immigrants can still try to help their spouses gain legal status, just like other couples. This is true even if a spouse has an order for deportation. Going to a marriage interview is one of the first steps for helping a spouse get legal residency, but the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement made it impossible to move any further.

Six different couples filed a case against ICE for violating their legal rights to pursue this option. They alleged that officials purposely lured couples to these marriage interviews just so they could arrest and detain undocumented spouses. A federal judge ruled that ICE officials had violated federal regulations and ordered them to immediately stop detaining and then deporting immigrants as they seek legal status through their marriages.

Immigrants face uphill battles each and every day, and it is even harder for those who are undocumented in Louisiana. Family immigration should be very helpful to undocumented immigrants who fall in love with and marry citizens, but this is not the case for everyone. Couples who are ready to start this process should be sure that they understand the process, their rights and whom to reach out to for help if anything goes wrong.

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