Thanks for your inquiry. I would recommend that you discuss your case with an experienced immigration attorney and that you do that now. While I am not here to scare you, my job is to inform you and part of that information would be that you could be placed in removal proceedings if your applications are part of a larger investigation.
At this point it is somewhat difficult to give you an idea of what may or may not happen because I do not know what you submitted and to whom it was submitted. Surprisingly, I have seen much more in the way of people being scammed since I entered private practice than I ever saw when I was working for the INS. And in my time in private practice I have seen many scams operated by both sophisticated and unsophisticated scam artists.
The best way to figure out what can happen or what may happen is to sit with an attorney who can work through these issues with you. The most problematic thing I see here is that if applications were actually sent to Citizenship and Immigration Services, those applications will at some point be reviewed. And if those applications are at some point reviewed, they could be denied and the denials my then lead to you and your spouse being placed in proceedings before a US Immigration Judge.
Sometimes, we have been able to take individuals in a situation like yours and approach the authorities with the problems that you encountered and see if you may be eligible to receive some assistance from the government in return for your part in an investigation. But again whether this can or cannot happen really depends on the circumstances of your case.
From what I can see, both you and your spouse have violated the terms of your visas by not departing the US when your programs on the J-1 visas ended. And while the Department of Homeland Security may not know who you are and where you are right now, you want to be ready if the Department figures it out through a bogus application that you submitted.
Be careful about who you choose to help you in a case like this. There are many attorneys who will classify themselves as immigration attorneys who have absolutely no idea how to back track a scam and how to figure out why things were done the way they were done. A good attorney should be able to ask the right questions to figure out the operation and to give you a plan forward. Getting ahead of a potential problem is the best advice that I could provide to you at this time.
And while no one wants to profit from the trouble that you have endured, there is a situation in which you find yourselves and you are much better trying to make an informed decision as to whether something can or should be done rather than hoping that no one will realize there is a problem and just leaving it alone.
I am in the Orlando area and I would welcome an opportunity to review the matter with you. Be careful out there, make good choices and find a good attorney who is there to answer question, to provide guidance and to help. Good luck.
You applied for a "green card" by accident based on a scam by immigration? Your overstayed your J-1 visa by 8 years? If you are SERIOUS about trying to resolve this problem, you would be wise, a minimum, to seek my legal advice of that of one of my esteemed colleagues. You are NOT going to get your answer here. Each case is very CASE SPECIFIC. If things were that easy, we wouldn't have gone to law school. I can be reached at either (770)955-785 or via e-mail at email@example.com. Hope this helps. Wishing you well. THINK IMMIGRATION - TIME BOB BEER.
This communication does not create an attorney client relationship. If I can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me at any time at either (770)955-1785 or (678)576-9394 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. THINK IMMIGRATION - THINK BOB BEER
It's hard to respond to this issue, as it is very unclear where or how you applied for a green card -- did you apply to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services? Did you get receipt notices? If so, you can check at www.uscis.gov, by entering the receipt number, to see the actual status of anything you might have filed.
If you have filed for something with US CIS, you should consult with an immigration attorney to figure out what exactly you applied for, and where you should go from here.
This is general advice regarding immigration law and is not meant to be taken as specific advice to a particular person or circumstance.
By the time you read this, ICE could be knocking on your door after having discreetly questioned your neighbors and/or co-workers,etc. On the other hand, it will all come down to if you will be considered a small or big fish in all this scam.. Are you one of the heads, organizers or merely a gullible victim? Only you know the answer to this one. If Immigration set up this "net" to catch up some fish like yourselves, then we've got "entrapment" here, but that won't do you much good, since you are overstays... Tough one, consult with a local immigration lawyer in your area in the privacy of his/her office and not in a public forum such as this, since we are not the only ones to read these postings, am sure.
Behar Intl. Counsel 619.234.5962 Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.