San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Court Blocks Immigration’s Marriage Investigations

THE Constitutional Chamber of theSupreme Court (Sala IV) has ruled thatthe Department of Immigration can nolonger investigate marriages betweenCosta Rican citizens and foreigners whoseek entry permits. The controversial rulinghas immigration officials worried thatthe practice of marrying a citizen to enterthe country will now become a veritablebusiness.According to the daily La Nación, theruling forces the department to resolveresidency applications of non-residentsmarried to Costa Ricans without investigatingor interviewing the spouses, as ithas traditionally done, to determinewhether the marriages were undertakensolely to obtain residency.A lawsuit filed by resident RocíoCruz, whose Cuban husband José RaúlRodríguez was denied entry in 2003 afterimmigration officials said the marriagewas arranged to obtain a visa, promptedthe ruling, La Nación reported.Immigration denied visas for similarreasons to 123 foreigners in 2004, andcurrently has 180 applications under consideration,170 from Cubans and 10 fromChinese citizens.Immigration Director Marco Badillatold the daily that while he has not beenofficially notified of the ruling, the departmentwould obey the ruling “underprotest’’ once it receives word. He alsosaid the decision would open the door forfuture marriages of convenience.

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