Immigration is a relevant issue in many Louisiana households, perhaps including yours. If you or your spouse emigrated to the United States from another country, you may have encountered several challenges while preparing for marriage or during a green card application process. If you have received notice to appear at a Stokes interview, your legal problems are not over; in fact, if the interview doesn’t go well, you or your spouse (whomever has immigrant status) may be at risk for deportation.
The Stokes interview takes its name from a case once heard in a federal district court where an immigration officer had questioned the validity of a couple’s marriage. If the court calls you to a Stokes interview, the U.S. government suspects that your marriage is fraudulent and that you only married so that either you or your spouse could obtain a green card. You must be ready to convince immigration officials that your marriage is authentic.
You and your spouse will be separate at a Stokes interview
While you and your partner will attend the Stokes interview at the same time, immigration officials will take you to separate areas during questioning. The purpose of this is so they can compare the answers you each provide to check if they corroborate. You’ll want to be prepared to answer highly personal questions, some of which may refer to obscure issues, such as what color your bathroom paint is.
The interviewer might ask you things like where you and your spouse met or went on your first date. He or she might ask you what your spouse’s favorite food is or what time he or she typically goes to bed at night. If you do not know an answer to a question, it’s always best to admit so rather than make something up to try to deceive the interviewer.
Documents that can help you achieve positive results
Anything you can bring to convince immigration officials that your marriage is legitimate is helpful. Such things include immigration paperwork, photographs that demonstrate the timeline of your relationship with your spouse, birthday cards, personal notes or letters, bills addressed in both your names and more.
If the interviewer suspects that you or your spouse are lying, or your answers do not coincide (such as one of you saying that your bedroom has green walls while the other says gray), he or she may flag your case for further investigation. Because such situations are emotionally distressing and may be legally complicated, it is always wise to seek experienced guidance and support before attending a Stokes interview.