Three Maryland representatives are urging Immigration and Customs Enforcement to end an alleged practice of luring immigrants into the deportation process by misleading them into believing they’re visiting an immigration office to discuss a green card eligibility related to marrying a U.S. citizen.
In a letter to ICE Acting Director Matthew Albence, the three Democratic congressmen — Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, Rep. Elijah Cummings and Rep. John Sarbanes — urged the agency “to immediately stop using this abusive bait and switch tactic in Baltimore and around the country.”
Word of the practice emerged after a lawsuit filed last month alleged that agents at the Baltimore field office were using the tactic.
“It is concerning that ICE and [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] appear to be coordinating to arrest immigrants attending marriage interviews at USCIS offices,” the three wrote.
The three congressmen went on to ask for "any policies, memorandums, agreements, or guidance between ICE and USCIS related to this practice.”
Calls for comment from an ICE spokesperson were not returned.
The letter comes after six families and the ACLU sued ICE over its use of the alleged practice at its Baltimore field office, saying that six couples were tricked into thinking they were at the office to talk about green card eligibility after marrying, only to be detained to start the deportation process.
The group alleges the office is improperly using the “stateside waiver process" — which can grant temporary waiver status to noncitizens seeking legal status after marrying a U.S. citizen — to detain noncitizens for deportation.
In May, U.S. District Court Judge George J. Hazel ruled that a Maryland resident was impermissibly arrested when he showed up for an interview for an application for a stateside waiver.