Louisiana Immigration Law Firm

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Louisiana Law Makes It Harder for Immigrants to Marry

Louisiana immigration law was featured recently in The New York Times, and the headline seems to say it all: Louisiana’s Heartless Marriage Law. The article focuses on the ramifications of Act 436, passed by lawmakers last year. On the surface, the bill was a simple solution to marriage fraud, requiring additional documentation in order to be granted a marriage license.

The bill, however, seems to have been less of an attack on fraud and more of an attack on the rights of immigrants and refugees. The law, which requires you to produce your birth certificate to obtain a marriage license, exclusively affects the immigrant population.

The article records that “county clerks have had to turn away couples who were ready to marry, forcing some to come up with expensive backup plans, like traveling out of state. This is discriminatory and violates the legal principle that marriage licenses can’t be denied because of a person’s immigration status, authorized or not.”

One of the most heartbreaking examples is that of Victor Anh Vo & his fiancée. Slate featured this couple to draw attention to the issue surrounding Act 436. While Vo and his fiancée are both American citizens, they are prevented from marrying because Vo does not have a birth certificate. Neither carelessness nor fraud is to blame in Vo’s inability to produce a birth certificate. Vo was born in a refugee camp in Indonesia after his parents fled Vietnam, and he was never issued one.

Vo, a legal immigrant who enjoys American citizenship, is prevented from marrying because of this law. Many other immigrants face the same problem or have to jump through a number of hoops to receive a marriage license. Even immigrants who have their birth certificate must pay to have it translated.

While this act may have been passed to combat marriage fraud, its lasting legacy has been to prevent or to make it more difficult for immigrants to marry.

If you are facing an immigration matter, the knowledgeable Lake Charles immigration attorneys at Ashely Foret Dees, LLC are prepared to help. We will fight for your rights! Contact us today. Se habla Español.