Judge appeals to State to clamp down on bogus marriages

A High Court judge has asked the State to make “huge efforts” to prevent, root out, and revoke bogus marriages.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys made the comments in a major reserved judgment about a 45-year-old Algerian man who had challenged a deportation order.

“I appreciate that love is, of course, blind but it is nonetheless disturbing to note how frequently applicants become regarded as ‘a good catch’ shortly after being served with deportation orders,” the judge said.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had initially sought asylum after claims he had encountered difficulties with Islamists in his home country. He had left Algeria 15 years ago and came to Ireland but had been refused asylum by the refugee applications commissioner, a decision he had not appealed.

Five months after a deportation order had been made against him in March 2004, the judge said “we have the wearyingly predictable feature of his marriage to a young Hungarian woman” who had left Ireland four years later and with whom he had no contact since.

There had been no children from the marriage.

The applicant had made a claim for residence in Ireland based on his marriage and it had been refused. His marriage had been “ephemeral at best,” ruling out any basis for a claim of “family life” under the Irish Constitution.

“In the interests of the human rights of those involved there is a clear duty on the State to make huge efforts to prevent such bogus marriages in future,” the judge said. The man had claimed that during military service in Algeria he had been involved in anti-terrorist work against one of two main Islamist insurgents. On leaving the army, he claimed to have encountered difficulty with Islamists.

The judge said the man had been refused a revocation of his deportation order and had asked the court to judicially review that.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys dismissed the man’s application and lifted a prior injunction restraining his deportation. He said the mere passage of time had not meant the minister had expressed a lack of continuing intention to deport.

In a separate case, the judge dismissed an asylum appeal in which a Nigerian woman who had been given a right of residence in Ireland had married a Nigerian man against whom there was a deportation order.

While continuing to evade the Garda National Immigration Bureau for seven years from 2008 until 2015 the man had, last year, had a civil marriage ceremony with the woman, who had residential rights and had afterwards become pregnant. The man had, however, been deported in September 2015, three months before the birth of their child.

Judge Humphreys said the parties should have known the risks involved in a marriage built on such shaky foundations. “It would be destructive of any ordered immigration control system if a person could convert his or her illegal status into a legal one merely by the expedient of either getting married or entering into a relationship with a person who has an entitlement to be in the state,” the judge said.

The judge said it was up to the woman, who had lived here for the past 16 years, to decide if she wished to join her deported husband in Nigeria.

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