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Marrying for a Green Card Is Not Romantic, Feds Say

A new poster campaign will launch Monday in three cities across the country, including Los Angeles, warning people that entering into a fraudulent marriage is a crime.

Andie McDowell did it in Green Card. Ryan Reynolds did it in The Proposal.

And countless sit-coms have contemplated the marry-a-foreigner-to-help-a-person-out storyline trope. 

But government officials say, don't follow their lead.

"Marriage fraud is not a story line for a Hollywood romantic comedy," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations Los Angeles.

A poster created by ICE, warning Southlanders that marriage fraud is a federal crime, will go on display Monday at a downtown Los Angeles bus stop.

The crime carries significant prison sentences and possible six-figure fines, said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice.

The poster will be displayed on a bus stop adjacent to the Federal Building in the 300 block of North Los Angeles Street. A second poster will be placed at another "high-traffic location" in the city in the next couple of weeks.

The poster includes two photos: one showing the inside of a church decorated for a wedding, and the second showing the inside of a jail, along with the words: "If you walk down this aisle for the wrong reasons ... you could end up walking down this aisle."

The posters also include the message that marriage fraud can result in sentences of up to five years in prison, and fines of up to $250,000.

The display of the poster is part of a nationwide outreach campaign targeting Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday, Alake Ilegbameh, a 46-year-old Nigerian national who was living in Baldwin Hills, was sentenced to 26 months in federal prison after an HSI investigation revealed that he arranged sham marriages for Nigerian nationals so they could obtain legal permanent residency in the United States. Once released, he will face deportation, ICE reported.

According to ICE, Ilegbameh was in the United States illegally, and was seeking to adjust his status based upon a fraudulent marriage.

--City News Service

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