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Where are INS records?

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Is it normal for the INS to be unable to find a trace of an alien spouse in their computers? Is it normal for records to be kept at some location other than the local INS office? At what point are they removed from the local office? At what point are they destroyed?

My Chinese wife exhibited a number of behaviors during our marriage which left me suspicious of her motives. My suspicions were raised when she left the country to bring back her parents - my understanding was that she could not leave the country until she obtained permanent residency - but she insisted that we had not yet been called for an interview. Upon her arrival back to the US with her parents, she announced that she hated me and wanted a divorce.

I called the INS (our local office in Philadelphia) to ask if she had obtained permanent residency, and an agent could find no records of her on the computer using her social security number, birthdate, and several combinations of names. The agent asked me to find an EAN number or something like that, and in searching the house, I found that she had indeed received permanent residency shortly before her trip to China.

With the number that came on a letter to which the residency card would have been attached, I again called the INS, and an agent again couldn't find her in the computer. That made no sense - the INS permanent residency letter certainly wasn't a forged document.

Along with the discovery of this letter, I discovered a number of other odd things, such as correspondence with the IRS (tax) using an address that was different from where we lived. There were enough such discoveries that I began to suspect that the marriage had been a scam not only to gain residency in the US, but also to defraud me financially.

This time I made a personal visit to the INS office, and an agent confirmed that her file was not in the local office and that he could not find her in the computer. The first call to the the INS had merely been to find out if she had obtained permanent residency without me. The second call was to find out HOW she could have done this without me. The third contact was to find out if I could actually get someone to look in the file to see if my signature might have been forged. (She has apparently forged my signature in filing joint tax returns which requested refunds, and I have since discovered other documents which show that she was not so wholesome as I had wanted to believe - she has left me in financial ruins.)

I have made enough discoveries in the past year of our separation to be certain that her marriage to me was for the convenience of obtaining permanent residency, and someone has told me that the pointless delays in my attemtps to get a divorce might be for her convenience in gaining naturalization.

I recently made a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain a copy of her I-751 (request for removal of conditions) on the grounds that it has my signature. I received a letter today from the local office saying, "We have searched for records that relate to your request and determined that if such records exist, they would be maintained under the jurisdiction of the INS office at the following address: (in Vermont)."

Is all of this pretty normal - that nobody can find any records of my estranged wife? If the I-751 cannot be found, which most certainly must either have a forged signature or falsified information, is she pretty much "scott free"?

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