The number of green cards being issued to alien brides married to Americans has tripled in one year, evidence of the latest bid by illegal immigrants to use the legal system to gain quick citizenship, according to a new report.

The Center for Immigration Studies, reviewing newly issued data from Customs and Immigration Services, found the surge among women claiming that their American citizen husbands are abusing them.

And under the current rules, any charge made by those brides is accepted by the government, sometimes without the husband even being contacted, and a green card is issued.

The Center described the process as a fast path to legal status. Immigrant women who marry permanent resident aliens, not U.S. citizens, have to wait two to six years for a visa. Those who marry a U.S. citizen immediately become a legal resident and get a conditional green card.

The data shows that the number of green card visas granted "abused" immigrant wives that married Americans jumped from 2,657 in 2013 to 7,600 in 2014.

"Were male citizens three times as likely to beat their alien wives in one year than in the prior year? Probably not," wrote CIS Fellow David North.

"Everyone is concerned about abusive spouses, but I find it highly unlikely that the actual incidence of spousal abuse among citizen-alien couples tripled between 2013 and 2014. What is much more likely is that the sleepy people at USCIS have turned a blind eye to a growing trend of fraudulent use of a provision in immigration law that allows an abused spouse to secure a green card largely on her unsupported testimony that her new citizen (or green card) spouse has been abusive to her," he added.

The practice isn't new, just the number of people who might be taking advantage of it, wrote North, who has followed the trend and even received calls from spouses caught up in alleged scams.

He described it this way:

Every couple of weeks we at the Center hear from yet another citizen, usually but not always a male, who contends that he was conned into marrying an alien woman (usually younger, sometimes much younger) who proceeded to dump him as soon as she secured the conditional green card for newlywed aliens, and who then sought permanent green card status by arguing that she was abused, and thus eligible for the benefit under the Violence Against Women Act. Routinely the citizen spouse complains to DHS, and routinely that agency decides on behalf of the alien, not responding to the citizen's complaints, often not even telling him of its decision.

See the full report here.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com