At the hearing, the couple gave conflicting information concerning their place of residence, date of marriage, and the length of time in which they lived together.
The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) reinforced the Immigration Judge’s authority in adjustment of status(lawful permanent resident status) cases. This case involved the validity of a foreign national’s marriage to a U.S. Citizen as a basis for obtaining adjustment of status.
Mr. Kagumbas was a native of Kenya. He came to the U.S. on a F-1 student visa in 2006. He didn’t remain a student full-time, which was a condition of the visa. Therefore, his nonimmigrant status was terminated in 2007. He stayed in the U.S. without authorization, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) served him with a notice to appear (NTA). DHS stated that he was deportable.
Mr. Kagumbas filed an application for adjustment of status. An adjustment of status means that the person is applying to be a lawful permanent resident. Mr. Kagumbus based this upon his marriage to a United States citizen. His wife filed a Form I-130, a petition for an alien relative. Once a Form I-130 is granted, the foreign relative can apply to become a lawful permanent resident, by applying for adjustment of status.
At the hearing, the couple gave conflicting information concerning their place of residence, date of marriage, and the length of time in which they lived together. The Immigration Judge decided that the marriage was not bona fide, and that “the marriage was entered into solely to confer an immigration benefit”. She denied Mr. Kagumbas’s request to be a lawful permanent resident.
The Court had to decide if an Immigration Judge can deny adjustment of status to someone who already has an approved I-130 petition. The Court determined that the Immigration Judge had the sole power(exclusive jurisdiction) to make the decision. She had the responsibility to evaluate whether testimony was credible to make her decision. The approved I-130 petition was not binding on her.
The case is quite important. It demonstrates how complicated immigration law can be. Mr. Kagumbas’s wife was able to get a I-130 petition granted. Unfortunately, this was not the deciding factor in the Immigration Judge’s decision. It is very important to obtain the advice of an experienced immigration attorney when needed, to guide you through the complexity of immigration law.