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Immigration Court Hearings During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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I have many cases in which my clients are minors. Minors are people who are too young to consent to legal contracts. They are not always necessarily kids, though. Today, USCIS updated their Adjudicator’s Field Manual for their officers deciding adjustment of status cases involving minors who get married (either to other minors or to adults).

In my experience, USCIS officers rarely question the legality of a marriage on the ground that one of the spouses was a minor when getting married. However, this issue can become crucial depending on the laws of the state where the USCIS officer decides the case. The policy update says: “officers should evaluate the laws of the state of residence to ensure that the marriage is recognized as valid.”

My opinion is that this policy update will make it more likely for a USCIS to ask questions regarding the intent of the minor to get married when they got married. For example, I have a case in which an Applicant got married at age 17 in a state where the age of consent is 17, but is now applying in a state where the age of consent is 18. My client may hear some questions from the USCIS officer about her thinking when she got married.