The spousal rule or privilege as it’s known, helps a husband and wife from having to testify against each other in order to keep marital harmony or bliss. The law differs in every State and the Federal government also has it’s own interpretation of it. This law applies to any criminal and civil litigation but it does not, at least in the Federal government, apply to administrative hearings, which all immigration cases are.
One of the questions that you are asked when you go before an immigration adjudicator is “where did you meet your spouse?” This question, while harmless, could lead to the destruction of a family, because if you met your spouse in the U.S. while they weren’t supposed to be there, then immediate removal is required and their chances of entering the U.S. or becoming a naturalized citizen have become almost nil, unless you can pay the hefty fine and are Bezos or Musk. The one thing about this exemption of the spousal privilege in administrative cases is that it disproportionately affects minorities, in this case Hispanics. The adjudicator is careful to remind you that this is not a criminal proceeding but that answering any questions falsely could lead to criminal charges and fines and immediate removal, those charges do though have a statute of limitations, that’s why I can write this blarticle. The problem here is that if you met your spouse while she was in the country illegally and you have a child together, the government has determined that you have no protections. This change to the immigration policy is fairly recent and wasn’t around when the mass exodus of Europe to the U.S. was happening. The question, “where did you meet your spouse?” should have no role in the process. Are they just interested in your love story? No. Do they want to hear a romantic quip about how we saw each other across the room? No. (oddly enough though). What they are looking for, even though all kinds of criminal history checks are done both in the U.S. and from the country they are emigrating from, is a last ditch effort to not allow you entry. Being in the U.S. illegally, that’s prior to legal entry, disqualifies you from entering for 10 years for the first offense.
This country uses these people as cheap labor in numerous industries which helps keep prices relatively low, they even have laws that do not allow you to go to a business without a fair warning, in this case a week. This allows the business owner to prevent their cheap labor from being taken away. These people work endlessly but they are not suppose to fall in love or find a soul mate, they are supposed to be robots. That question, which could leave you open for intimidation and coercion for up to ten years by anyone that knows that person’s past, should be removed from the questionnaire. Some people even make it a business by charging these people massive amounts of money to either facilitate their marriage and/or keep their secret. Where they met should not be a deciding factor if they are eligible to be a family, it should be asked when making a biopic in an anniversary video to show their children and grand children about how brave grandma was.