Immigration & Crimes
Immigration & Health care
behind the case
Behind the Case: 'No Prior Marriage Fraud'
CASE: In Re: Name Redacted (Feb. 24, 2014)
ATTORNEY: Michael Friedberg, Friedberg & Trombi
by Sheeba Raj
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
(USCIS) ﬁeld oﬃce director erred when he
revoked an approved visa petition on the
basis of prior marriage fraud, as ruled by the
Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upon ﬁnding
no "substantial and probative" evidence of prior
marriage fraud in the record.
"[T]here must be substantial and probative evidence
of such an aempt or conspiracy," wrote the Board,
and that evidence "must be contained in the alien's
ﬁle." e ﬁeld oﬃce director had revoked the petition
ﬁled by the beneﬁciary's second (and current)
husband even though the beneﬁciary and her ex-
spouse submied statements showing the bona ﬁdes
of their former marriage, along with bank statements
and photographs in support of the marriage. In its
February 24, 2014, decision, the BIA sustained the
appeal and remanded the case back to the director to
continue processing the petition.
"[T]his has been nothing but a
complete nightmare for this family,"
said Michael Friedberg, of Friedberg
& Trombi in Los Angeles and the
aorney of record. "When [USCIS]
sent us the notice of revocation,
[it] said we had 30 days to ﬁle an
appeal," he added. "Well, if you look
up [8 CFR §205.2(d)], it's actually a 15-day appeal
period, so we got incorrect instructions from the
government on how to appeal; but nonetheless, thank
goodness we knew about it and we ﬁled timely. And
then about a month later, we ﬁled our brief to the BIA
[in April 2010], so essentially, we were done in terms
of challenging the revocation." However, Friedberg
said that the government didn't submit its response
to the BIA until August 2013. "In the meantime, we
had consistently said, 'We have never seen the ﬁle.
We have never seen any of the adverse evidence.
Why don't you send us the adverse evidence?' … So,
this family is paying money to do an appeal, to do an
appearance, to do this, to do that, ﬁghting oﬀ [USCIS]
until they're vindicated."
e next court hearing is scheduled for October 2014,
but Friedberg said that he'll soon speak to his clients
about ﬁling motions to terminate.
When preparing I-130 petitions for couples, Friedberg
emphasizes researching at the outset that the marriage
is real. "Don't take any case just because they're
there and they're willing to pay you," he said. Once
an aorney determines that the marriage is real, he
or she should submit documents supporting the bona
ﬁde nature of it, such as joint lease agreements, bank
account statements, insurance papers, photographs,
correspondence, etc. As for clients that already are
charged with marriage fraud, Friedberg said that "you
have to be very thorough in geing the story."
SHEEBA RAJ is the staff legal editor and reporter for VOICE.
but a complete