Can someone be convicted of alien marriage fraud if they are an illegal immigrant?
A sham marriage has been defined as a marriage which may comply with all the formal requirements of the law but which the parties entered into with no intent, or "good faith", to live together and which is designed solely to circumvent the immigrations laws. A marriage entered into for the primary purpose of circumventing the immigration laws, commonly referred to as fraudulent or sham marriage, is not recognized for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits and immigration status may be rescinded.
Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed by Congress in 1994, allegedly abused spouses and children of United States citizens or lawful permanent residents (LPR) may self-petition to obtain lawful permanent residency. There has been a lot of abuse of the VAWA Act, including many cases reported to this site. The agency that reviews the cases under the VAWA Act, the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), has been criticized for having a low/no standard of proof of abuse.