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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Court denies dismissal of alleged fake marriage case

The federal court has denied a motion to dismiss the charges against a woman and a man who were indicted for allegedly defrauding U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services by engaging in a fake marriage.

At a hearing on Tuesday, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona denied Xiaoying Tang’s motion to dismiss the charges. The judge stated that she will issue a written decision later.

Joseph Horey, court-appointed counsel for Tang, argued that the offenses of which Tang is charged with are all premised on the “sham marriage” doctrine, which is stated at the outset of the indictment.

Horey said the doctrine states that “Under the immigration laws of the United States, a foreign-born national married to a U.S. citizen could obtain legal permanent resident status based on that marriage, provided the marriage had been entered into in good faith, intending to establish a life together, and not only for the purpose of enabling the foreign-born national to obtain legal permanent resident status in the United States.”

But for this premise, Horey said, none of the misrepresentations attributed to Tang in this case would have been material to her green card application.

“The premise is constitutionally faulty, thus is the indictment,” the lawyer pointed out.

The U.S. government opposed the motion.

The jury trial of Tang will start on Jan. 27.

The indictment charged Tang and Jesse Juan Teigita Dowai with conspiracy to commit visa fraud and to defraud the U.S., visa fraud, and false document.

Last Dec. 30, Dowai pleaded guilty to count 1 of the indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit visa fraud and to defraud the U.S. The U.S. government agreed to move to dismiss the remaining counts as to Dowai upon sentencing.

Sentencing will be on May 16, 2014.

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