Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law Professor Marisa Cianciarulo published an article entitled “
Seventeen Years Since the Sunset: The Expiration of 245 (i) and its Effect On U.S. Citizens Married to Undocumented Immigrants
” in Fowler School of Law’s
Chapman Law Review
(Volume 18, Number 2).

From the introduction:

cianciarulo-clrOne of the most pervasive myths of U.S. immigration law is that marriage to a U.S. citizen confers citizenship, or at least some form of legal status, upon a foreign national. It is an intuitive notion: that a U.S. citizen enjoys, as part of his or her package of privileges and protections, the right to live anywhere in the United States with a spouse of his or her choosing, and to confer automatically some form of legal status upon that spouse. It comes as a surprise and an affront to many U.S. citizens that their immigration laws do not always comport with this notion.

The fact is that no marriage-based adjustment of a foreign national’s immigration status occurs automatically. A U.S. citizen who wishes to confer permanent immigration status upon his or her spouse must sponsor that spouse for lawful permanent residency. If and when the petition is approved, the foreign national spouse must then apply for adjustment of status to lawful permanent residency (if in the United States) or an immigrant visa (if outside the United States). Only after a period of three years as a lawful permanent resident may the foreign national spouse then apply for naturalization. While this process is contrary to the intuitive notion of automatic conferral of citizenship via marriage, it is nevertheless a relatively painless and straightforward process for many families.

Read the full article

Professor Marisa Cianciarulo
is a specialist in clinical teaching and immigration law with a human rights focus. She is the Director of Chapman’s
Bette and Wylie Aitken Family Protection Clinic
, which she launched in 2007. Professor Cianciarulo taught in the Villanova Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services for three years prior to joining the faculty at Chapman. She previously served as a Staff Attorney with the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration in Washington, D.C., was a partner in a law firm specializing in immigration matters, and served as interim legal director of a non-profit immigration services provider in Arlington, Virginia. Professor Cianciarulo received her B.A. from the Catholic University of America, her JD from American University Washington College of Law, and her M.A. from American University School of International Service. She teaches Civil Procedure, the Family Protection Clinic, Gender & the Law and Refugee Law. She publishes on the intersection of gender and immigration with an emphasis on vulnerable immigrant populations. Past articles include “
Batterers as Agents of the State: Challenging the Public/Private Distinction in Intimate Partner Violence-Based Asylum Claims
Harvard Journal of Law & Gender
(2012), and “
Unauthorized Americans and European Outcasts

Georgetown Immigration Law Journal

See more of Professor Cianciarulo’s writings