[1] See Immigration Act of 1989 (Part 3): Joint Hearings on S. 358 Before the Immigration, Refugees, and Int'l Law Subcomm. of the House Judiciary Comm. and the Immigration Task Force of the House Comm. on Educ. and Labor, 101st Cong., 2d Sess. 852-53 (1990) [hereinafter Joint Hearings] (joint statement of Asian Women's Shelter et al.). Return to text.

[2] See id. at 852 (citing FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, U.S. DEP'T OF JUSTICE, UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS FOR 1983 (1984)). Return to text.

[3] See H.R.J. Res. 178, 103d Cong. (1993) (enacted). Return to text.

[4] See Joint Hearings, supra note 1, at 853; Maxine Yi Hwa Lee, A Life Preserver for Battered Immigrant Women: The 1990 Amendments to the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments, 41 BUFF. L. REV. 779, 781-82 (1993) (estimating the extent of abuse against immigrant women by correlating statistics on domestic violence in general with statistics on immigrant entrance, statements from hotline shelters catering to immigrant communities, and the number of conditional resident spouses seeking waivers).

The following example illustrates the problems facing battered immigrant women:

Katrina came to the U.S. three years ago with her mother and her American husband whom she had married in the Philippines. Katrina is undocumented, but her two year old daughter is a U.S. citizen. As an undocumented woman married to a U.S. citizen, Katrina's legal residency depends upon her husband's willingness to verify the "legitimacy" of their marriage in an interview with the INS. Katrina's husband has beaten her repeatedly during the past two years and recently he forced her mother to move out of the house and move in with a friend. Katrina finally sought help from a battered women's shelter but soon returned to her husband when he threatened to report her to the INS and have her deported.
Joint Hearings, supra note 1, at 858. Return to text.

[5] See 8 U.S.C. 1151(b) (1994). Return to text.

[6] See id. 1151(b)(2)(A)(i). Return to text.

[7] See id. 1153(a). Return to text.

[8] See id. 1153(a)(1). Return to text.

[9] See id. 1153(a)(2). Return to text.

[10] See Margaret M.R. O'Herron, Note, Ending the Abuse of the Marriage Fraud Act, 7 GEO. IMMIGR. L.J. 549, 552 (1993). Return to text.

[11] See Immigration Marriage Fraud: Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Immigration and Refugee Policy of the Senate Comm. on the Judiciary, 99th Cong., 1st Sess. 2 (1985) [hereinafter IMF Hearings] (statement of Sen. Alan K. Simpson). "By virtue of a simple ceremony taking only a few minutes, marriage to a United States citizen confers 'most favored alien' status on the beneficiary and almost instantly results in immigrant status as no visa number . . . is necessary." Id. at 7 (statement of INS Commissioner Alan C. Nelson). Return to text.

[12] See 8 U.S.C. 1154(a)(1)(A)(i), (a)(1)(B)(i) (1994). Return to text.

[13] See O'Herron, supra note 10, at 552. Return to text.

[14] See id. Return to text.

[15] See Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-639, 100 Stat. 3537 (codified as amended at 8 U.S.C. 1154, 1184, 1186a (1994)). Return to text.

[16] See H.R. REP. NO. 99-906, at 6 (1986), reprinted in 1986 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5978, 5978. Return to text.

[17] 132 CONG. REC. H27,015 (daily ed. Sept. 1, 1986) (statement of Rep. Romano L. Mazzoli). Return to text.

[18] See H.R. REP. NO. 99-906, at 6, reprinted in 1986 U.S.C.C.A.N. 5978, 5978. This estimate, however, was at best misleading. See discussion infra Part VIII.A. Return to text.

[19] See IMF Hearings, supra note 11, at 6 (statement of INS Commissioner Alan C. Nelson). Return to text.

[20] See id. at 7. Return to text.

[21] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(a)(1) (1994). Return to text.

[22] See id. 1186a(b)(1). Return to text.

[23] See id. 1186a(b)(1)(A)(i); 8 C.F.R. 216.3(a) (1997). The IMFA grants the power to make this decision to the Attorney General, see 8 U.S.C. 1186a(b)(1); however, the Attorney General has delegated to the INS the authority to administer and enforce the IMFA and all other immigration laws, see 8 C.F.R. 100.2(a). Thus, for simplicity's sake, this Comment refers to the INS when the immigration law in question specifies the Attorney General. Return to text.

[24] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(1)(A) (1994). Return to text.

[25] See id. 1186a(d)(2)(A). Return to text.

[26] See id. 1186a(c)(2)(A). Return to text.

[27] See id. 1186a(d)(2)(B). Return to text.

[28] See id. 1186a(c)(1)(B); cf. 8 C.F.R. 216.4(b)(1) (1997) (requiring the regional service center director "to determine whether to waive the interview required by the Act. If satisfied that the marriage was not for the purpose of evading the immigration laws, the regional service center director may waive the interview and approve the petition."). Return to text.

[29] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(3)(B) (1994). Return to text.

[30] Id. 1186a(b)(1)(A)(i). Return to text.

[31] Id. 1186a(b)(1)(A)(ii). Return to text.

[32] See id. 1186a(b)(1)(B). Return to text.

[33] See id. 1186a(b)(2). Return to text.

[34] See id. 1186a(c)(4). Return to text.

[35] See id. 1186a(c)(4)(A) (Supp. IV 1986). Return to text.

[36] See id. 1186a(c)(4)(B), amended by Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101-649 701(a), 104 Stat. 4978, 5085 (striking out the requirement that the marriage be terminated by the alien spouse for good cause); see also discussion supra Part IV.B. Return to text.

[37] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(4) (1994). Return to text.

[38] See id. Return to text.

[39] See 8 C.F.R. 216.5(f) (1994); cf. id. 204.2(c)(3) (1997) (granting a notice and full hearing options for aliens denied self-petitions). Return to text.

[40] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(C)(4)(B) (1994). Return to text.

[41] There also are cases in which both parties entered into the marriage in good faith, but one or both eventually realized that it was a mistake. For example, suppose that the parties ceased to cohabit because one physically abused the other. In that case, one can say that the abused spouse made a mistake. Such a mistake, however, would not constitute an act of fraud or a sham marriage. See IMF Hearings, supra note 11, at 33 (statement of Deputy Ass't Sec'y of State for Visa Services Vernon D. Penner, Jr.). Return to text.

[42] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(4)(B) (Supp. IV 1986) (requiring that the marriage be "terminated . . . by the alien spouse . . . ."), amended by Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101-649 701(a), 104 Stat. 4978, 5085 (striking out the requirement that the marriage be terminated by the alien spouse); see also H.R. REP. NO. 723(I), at 51 (1990), reprinted in 1990 U.S.C.C.A.N. 6710, 6731 (listing numerous factors that interfere with a battered spouse's ability to initiate a divorce); discussion supra Part IV.B. Return to text.

[43] See O'Herron, supra note 10, at 554. Return to text.

[44] See Deeana Jang, Triple Jeopardy: The Plight of Battered Immigrants and Refugee Women, 19 IMMIGR. NEWSL. 6, 6 (1990). Return to text.

[45] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(4)(B) (Supp. IV 1986) (requiring that the marriage be terminated "for good cause"), amended by Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101-649 701(a), 104 Stat. 4978, 5085 (striking out the requirement that the marriage be terminated for good cause); see also discussion supra Part IV.B. Return to text.

[46] See O'Herron, supra note 10, at 554. Return to text.

[47] See id. Return to text.

[48] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(4) (1994); see also Michelle J. Anderson, A License to Abuse: The Impact of Conditional Status on Female Immigrants, 102 YALE L.J. 1401, 1416-17 (1993). Even though the hardship waiver still does not apply if the initial petition for conditional permanent residency is not filed, this problem is mitigated by allowing battered alien spouses to self-petition for conditional residency. See discussion supra Part VI.A. Return to text.

[49] See Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Pub. L. 103-322, 40701, 108 Stat. 1796, 1953-55 (codified at 8 U.S.C. 1154(a)(1)(A)(iii) (1994)); see also discussion supra Part VI.A. Return to text.

[50] See 8 C.F.R. 205.1 (a)(3)(i)(A) (1997). Return to text.

[51] See Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act 40701, 108 Stat. at 1953-55; see also discussion supra Part VI.A. Return to text.

[52] See O'Herron, supra note 10, at 557. Return to text.

[53] Joint Hearings, supra note 1, at 854 (statement of Asian Women's Shelter et al.). Return to text.

[54] See Sandra D. Pressman, The Legal Issues Confronting Conditional Resident Aliens Who Are Victims of Domestic Violence: Past, Present, and Future Perspectives, 6 MD. J. CONTEMP. LEGAL ISSUES 129, 134 (1995); see also 136 CONG. REC. H8642 (daily ed. Oct. 2, 1990) (statement of Rep. Louise M. Slaughter) (concluding that the vagueness of the IMFA places a battered immigrant woman in the dilemma of facing an abusive husband or risking deportation to a country that has ceased to be her home). Return to text.

[55] Pub. L. No. 101-649, 104 Stat. 4978 (1990).

The independent waivers do not address the issue of battered spouses and children. . . . In addition, many states have no-fault divorce laws which make it impossible for an alien spouse to establish that the marriage was terminated for good cause. . . . Present law does not ensure that a battered alien spouse or child will not be forced to remain in an abusive relationship for fear of deportation. . . . The Committee believes that the creation of a battered spouse/child waiver and changes to the good faith/good cause waiver will clarify Congressional intent.
H.R. REP. NO. 723(I), at 51 (1990), reprinted in 1990 U.S.C.C.A.N. 6710, 6731.
The purpose of this provision is to ensure that when the U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse or parent engages in battering or cruelty against a spouse or child, neither the spouse nor child should be entrapped in the abusive relationship by the threat of losing their legal resident status.
Id. at 78. Return to text.

[56] See Immigration Act of 1989 (Part 1): Hearings Before the Subcomm. on Immigration, Refugees, and Int'l Law of the House of Representatives Comm. on the Judiciary, 101st Cong. 301 (1989) (statement of Nicholas DiMarzio, Executive Director, Migration and Refugee Services, U.S. Catholic Conference); id. at 665-68 (statement of Rep. Louise M. Slaughter); id. at 679-80 (letter submitted by Karen King, Ass't Director, Younger Women's Club). Return to text.

[57] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(4)(C) (1994). The INS implementing regulations specify that

the phrase "was battered by or was the subject of extreme cruelty" includes, but is not limited to, being the victim of any act or threatened act of violence, including any forceful detention, which results or threatens to result in physical or mental injury. Psychological or sexual abuse or exploitation, including rape, molestation, incest (if the victim is a minor) or forced prostitution shall be considered acts of violence.

8 C.F.R. 216.5(e)(3)(i) (1997). Return to text.

[58] H.R. REP. NO. 723(I), at 79 (1990), reprinted in 1990 U.S.C.C.A.N. 6710, 6759. Return to text.

[59] Id. at 63. Return to text.

[60] "The service has balanced the need to make compliance with the evidentiary requirements for the waiver as simple as possible against the need to ensure that unscrupulous aliens do not take advantage of the waiver to obtain immigration benefits to which they are not entitled." Battered and Abused Conditional Resident, 56 Fed. Reg. 22,635, 22,636 (1991). Return to text.

[61] 8 C.F.R. 216.5(e)(3) (1997). Return to text.

[62] See id. 216.5(e)(3)(iii); see also H.R. REP. NO. 723(I), at 79. Return to text.

[63] See 8 C.F.R. 216.5(e)(3)(iv) (1997). INS recognizes licensed clinical social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. See id. 216.5(e)(3)(vii). Return to text.

[64] Id. 216.5(e)(3)(iv). Return to text.

[65] See id. 216.5(e)(3)(iii); see also H.R. REP. NO. 723(I), at 79. Return to text.

[66] See 8 C.F.R. 216.5(e)(3)(ii) (1997) ("The conditional resident may apply for the waiver regardless of his or her marital status."). Return to text.

[67] See id. Return to text.

[68] See Immigration Act of 1990, Pub. L. 101-649, 701(a)(2), 104 Stat. 4978, 5085. Return to text.

[69] See H.R. REP. NO. 723(I), at 51. Return to text.

[70] See Immigration Act 701(a)(2), 104 Stat. at 5085. Return to text.

[71] See discussion supra Part III.B. Return to text.

[72] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(4)(B) (1994). Return to text.

[73] See id. 1186a(c)(4)(C) ("The [INS] shall, by regulation, establish measures to protect the confidentiality of information concerning any abused alien spouse or child, including information regarding the whereabouts of such spouse or child."). Return to text.

[74] See 8 C.F.R. 216.5(e)(3)(viii) (1997). Return to text.

[75] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(4) (1994). Return to text.

[76] See O'Herron, supra note 10, at 557. Return to text.

[77] See id. Return to text.

[78] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(4)(B) (1994). Return to text.

[79] See O'Herron, supra note 10, at 556. Return to text.

[80] See id. Return to text.

[81] Martha F. Davis & Janet M. Calvo, INS Interim Rule Diminishes Protection for Abused Spouses and Children, 68 INTERPRETER RELEASES 665, 668 (1991). Return to text.

[82] See 8 C.F.R. 216.5(e)(3)(i) (1997). Return to text.

[83] See id. 216.5(e)(3)(iii). Return to text.

[84] See id. 216.5(e)(3)(iv). Return to text.

[85] Davis & Calvo, supra note 81, at 668. Return to text.

[86] See Lee, supra note 4, at 797-98. Return to text.

[87] Id. at 798 (quoting Letter from Rep. Louise M. Slaughter to Richard Sloan, Director of Policy Directives and Instructions Branch, INS (June 7, 1991)). Return to text.

[88] See Davis & Calvo, supra note 81, at 668. Return to text.

[89] See id. Return to text.

[90] See 8 C.F.R. 216.5(e)(3)(iv) (1997). Return to text.

[91] Id. 208.13(b)(2)(i). Return to text.

[92] See id. 208.13(a). Return to text.

[93] See id. Return to text.

[94] See Davis & Calvo, supra note 81, at 669. Return to text.

[95] See id. Return to text.

[96] Id. Return to text.

[97] See 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)(4)(C) (1994). Return to text.

[98] 8 C.F.R. 216.5(e)(3)(viii) (1997). Return to text.

[99] See id. Return to text.

[100] See Davis & Calvo, supra note 81, at 669. Return to text.

[101] 8 C.F.R. 216.5(f) (1997); cf. id. 204.2(c)(3)(iii) (allowing the right to appeal self-petitions that are denied); see also discussion supra Part VI.D. Return to text.

[102] 424 U.S. 319 (1976). Return to text.

[103] See id. at 336. Return to text.

[104] See Davis & Calvo, supra note 81, at 670. Return to text.

[105] See 8 C.F.R. 216.5(e)(3)(iv) (1997) ("[A]ll waiver applications based upon claims of extreme mental cruelty must be supported by the evaluation of a professional recognized by the service as an expert in the field."); see also Davis & Calvo, supra note 81, at 669 ("[A] professional's affidavit may reveal nothing about the woman's abuse while her own affidavit and affidavits of witnesses, government authorities, clergy or others may clearly establish that she was subject to extreme cruelty . . . ."). Return to text.

[106] See 8 C.F.R. 216.5(d) (1997) (allowing the INS to require waiver applicants to appear at interviews). Return to text.

[107] Pub. L. No. 103-322, 108 Stat. 1796 (1994) (codified in scattered sections of 8 U.S.C., 18 U.S.C., and 42 U.S.C.). The House of Representatives initially proposed a bill with provisions specifically intended to protect immigrant women from the inadequacies of the IMMACT. See Violence Against Women Act of 1993, H.R. 1133, 103d Cong. 241-43. However, the Senate version of this bill did not contain similar provisions. See Janet M. Calvo and Martha F. Davis, Congress Nears Approval of Legislation to Protect Abused Aliens, 70 INTERPRETER RELEASES 1665, 1669 (1993). Legislators then combined these bills to draft the final conference version that appears in the Crime Act. See id. Return to text.

[108] See Crime Act 40701-03, 108 Stat. at 1953-55. Return to text.

[109] See 8 U.S.C.A. 1154(a)(1)(A)(iii)-(iv), (a)(1)(B)(ii)- (iii) (West Supp. 1996). Return to text.

[110] See id. 1254(a)(3). Return to text.

[111] See id. 1154(a)(1)(A)(iii). Return to text.

[112] See 8 C.F.R. 204.2(c)(1)(i) (1997). Return to text.

[113] See discussion supra Part III.D. Return to text.

[114] See 8 C.F.R. 204.2(c)(1)(i)(A) (1997). Return to text.

[115] See id. 204.2(c)(1)(ii) ("After the self-petition has been properly filed, the legal termination of the marriage will have no effect on the decision made on the self-petition."). Return to text.

[116] See id. ("The self-petitioner's remarriage, however, will be a basis for the denial of a pending self-petition."). Return to text.

[117] See 61 Fed. Reg. 13,061, 13,062 (1996). Return to text.

[118] See id. Return to text.

[119] See 8 C.F.R. 204.2(c)(1)(v) (1997). Return to text.

[120] See id.; see also 61 Fed. Reg. 13,061, 13,065 ("A qualified self-petitioner may have moved to the United States only recently, made any number of trips abroad, or resided with the abuser in the United States for only a short time."). Return to text.

[121] See 8 C.F.R. 204.2(c)(1)(v) (1997). Return to text.

[122] See id. 204.2(c)(1)(vi). Return to text.

[123] See id. Return to text.

[124] See id.; see also 61 Fed. Reg. 13061, 13,065 (1996). Return to text.

[125] See 8 C.F.R. 204.2(c)(1)(vi) (1997) ("Psychological or sexual abuse or exploitation, including rape, molestation, incest (if the victim is a minor), or forced prostitution shall be considered acts of violence."). Return to text.

[126] See id. Return to text.

[127] See id. 204.2(c)(2)(iv) ("[P]roof of non-qualifying abuse may only be used to establish a pattern of abuse and violence and to support a claim that qualifying abuse also occurred."). Return to text.

[128] See 8 U.S.C. 1154(a)(1)(H) (West Supp. 1996); 8 C.F.R. 204.2(c)(2)(i). Return to text.

[129] See 8 U.S.C. 1154(a)(1)(H) (West Supp. 1996). Return to text.

[130] See 8 C.F.R. 204.2(c)(2)(ii), (iii), (v), (vii) (1997). Return to text.

[131] Id. 204.2(c)(2)(i). Return to text.

[132] See id. 204.1(g)(1). Return to text.

[133] See id. 204.1(g)(2). Return to text.

[134] See id. 204.1(g)(3). Return to text.

[135] See id. Preliminary INS field-office instructions provided that more weight would be given to evidence contained in court records, medical reports, police reports, and other official documents. See INS Instructs on New Battered Spouse Provision in Crime Bill, 72 INTERPRETER RELEASES 178, 178 (1995). Return to text.

[136] 8 C.F.R. 204.2(c)(2)(iv) (1997). Return to text.

[137] See id. Return to text.

[138] See 8 C.F.R. 204.2(c)(3)(ii) (1997). Return to text.

[139] See id. Return to text.

[140] Id. Return to text.

[141] See id. 204.2(c)(3)(iii). Return to text.

[142] See supra text accompanying note 103. Nevertheless, the relative lack of process regarding applications for hardship waivers, see discussion supra Part IV.F, still remains, see 8 C.F.R. 216.5(f) (1997). Return to text.

[143] See 8 U.S.C.A. 1254(a)(3) (West Supp. 1996). Return to text.

[144] H.R. REP. NO. 103-395, at 26 (1993). Return to text.

[145] 61 Fed. Reg. 13,061, 13,062 (1994). Return to text.

[146] See 8 U.S.C.A. 1254(a)(3) (West Supp. 1996). Return to text.

[147] See 8 C.F.R. 274a.12(a) (1997) (failing to include undocumented self-petitioning aliens or aliens seeking suspension of deportation in the listing of aliens authorized to accept employment incident to their status). Return to text.

[148] See Lee, supra note 4, at 785. Return to text.

[149] See id. at 785-86. Return to text.

[150] H.R. REP. NO. 103-395, at 38 (1993). Return to text.

[151] See 8 C.F.R. 204.2(c)(1)(i)(a) (1997). Return to text.

[152] See id. 204.2(c)(1)(ii). Return to text.

[153] See Janet Calvo, The Violence Against Women Act: An Opportunity for the Justice Department to Confront Domestic Violence, 72 INTERPRETER RELEASES, 485, 489 (1995). Return to text.

[154] See supra Part IV.C. Return to text.

[155] The author is not questioning the INS's credibility and fairness. However, individuals should be able to rely upon a clear, objective, and nonarbitrary standard. Return to text.

[156] 8 C.F.R. 204.2(c)(2)(i) (1997). Return to text.

[157] Id. Return to text.

[158] See H.R. REP. NO. 103-395, at 38 (1993). Return to text.

[159] Id. (emphasis added). Return to text.

[160] See 8 C.F.R. 216.5(e)(3)(iv) (1997) ("[A]ll waiver applications based upon claims of extreme mental cruelty must be supported by the evaluation of a professional recognized by the Service as an expert in the field."). Return to text.

[161] IMF Hearings, supra note 11, at 6 (statement of INS Commissioner Alan C. Nelson). Return to text.

[162] Id. at 35. Return to text.

[163] See id. at 69 (statement of Roger L. Conner, Executive Director, Federation for American Immigration Reform). Return to text.

[164] Id. at 78 (statement of Jules C. Coven, President, American Immigration Lawyers Association). Return to text.

[165] During a floor debate on the legislation, Representative Romano L. Mazzoli cited an internal INS study claiming that one-third of marriages in INS cases are fraudulent. See 132 CONG. REC. H27,015 (daily ed. Sept. 1, 1986) (statement of Rep. Romano L. Mazzoli). Return to text.

[166] 736 F. Supp. 1367 (W.D.N.C. 1990). Return to text.

[167] See id. at 1373. Return to text.

[168] See id. Return to text.

[169] See id. Return to text.

[170] See id. Return to text.

[171] See id. Return to text.

[172] Id. Return to text.

[173] See id. Return to text.

[174] O'Herron, supra note 10, at 565. Return to text.

[175] See IMF Hearings, supra note 11, at 31 (statement of Deputy Ass't Sec'y of State for Visa Services Vernon D. Penner, Jr.). "In considering such a significant departure from existing provisions of law, careful consideration should be given to whether enforcement of existing law might not render the provision unnecessary." Id. Return to text.

[176] Id. at 32. There is no evidence that Congress or the INS conducted any further investigation to consider Penner's suggestion before or after passage of the IMFA. Return to text.

[177] If pre-IMFA problems were personnel-related, Congress could not reasonably have thought that giving the shorthanded and underfunded INS more work with new duties would solve the problems. Return to text.

[178] IMF Hearings, supra note 11, at 38 (statement of Deputy Ass't Sec'y of State for Visa Services Vernon D. Penner, Jr.). Return to text.

[179] See supra notes 167-73 and accompanying text. Return to text.

[180] See supra note 175 and accompanying text. Return to text.

[181] Supporters of the IMFA already have admitted that they "may have gone too far and are now infringing on the rights of those U.S. citizens and alien spouses who marry out of true love and respect for each other." 134 CONG. REC. S1625 (daily ed. Feb. 29, 1988) (statement of Sen. Paul Simon) (calling for the repeal of section 5 of IMFA). Return to text.