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Successful AAO Appeal on Marriage Fraud

The USCIS denied the I-130/I-485 (green card) application of an immigrant who is married to a U.S. citizen, based on an allegation that his first marriage to another United States citizen was a sham. The attorney planned to file a form I-290B, Notice of Appeal, to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) at USCIS, and asked for IPS LLC’s assistance. 

We immediately noticed a flaw in the Government’s argument. Among other things, USCIS’ decision relied heavily on an affidavit from the Beneficiary’s first spouse, in which she claimed she had no knowledge of petitioning for his green card. However, government records also showed that the wife had appeared in person at a USCIS office with her husband for his adjustment of status interview. We wrote, and the attorney agreed, that it “defies logic” for the wife to have attended this appointment but have no knowledge about why she and her husband were there.

We located relevant case law research arguing that “self-serving affidavits are suspect, especially if there is no supporting documentation.” We also pointed out that the government must have actual, “substantive and probative” evidence of fraud in order to deny the application based on that reasoning. Instead, the Government was taking into account what was “missing” from the file. 

This couple entered into their marriage with good intentions, but quickly realized they were ill-suited and decided to live apart. The important aspect is their state of mind and commitment at the time the union, not whether it succeeded or not.  Quoting a particularly relevant point from a U.S. Court decision, the brief stated: “Aliens cannot be required to have more conventional or more successful marriages than citizens.” Months later, the attorney wrote to let us know that the appeal had been granted.

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