Undocumented immigrants residing in the United States face difficult prospects if they are unable to adjust their status into that of a permanent legal resident. Some immigrants resort to attain permanent legal status by filing an I-30 visa petition. An I-30 visa petition or a petition for alien relative allows a United States citizen to establish their relationship with specific alien relatives who intend to immigrate to the U.S. One possible way that an immigrant can file an I-30 visa petition is to marry a U.S. resident. However, this move does not guarantee a smooth path to obtaining a permanent legal resident status.
One of the issues that immigration authorities can bring up to block an I-30 visa petition is marriage fraud. The case of Joel Njoroge Manguriu illustrates this perfectly. Manguriu is a native of Kenya who entered the United States on a student visa. Manguriu went over the allowed length of time that an immigrant can stay in the United States under a student visa. Eventually, he decided to marry a U.S. citizen in an attempt to adjust his status. Manguriu’s wife, Manuelita Lopez, filed an I-30 visa petition on his behalf. After the I-30 visa petition was filed, Manguriu applied for an adjustment of his immigrant status.
Immigration authorities reviewed Manguriu’s application. Manguriu’s request was denied on the grounds of marriage fraud. Manguriu’s case took a turn for the worst when the Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against him. Manguriu sought to evade the proceedings by filing a petition through the Violence Against Women Act. Manguriu claimed that his spouse was abusive. The immigration judge presiding over his case decided to halt the removal proceedings and his VAWA petition was approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. After the USCIS approved Manguriu’s VAWA petition, he asked the immigration judge to adjust his immigrant status to that of a permanent legal resident of the U.S.
While the immigration judge did find that Manguriu was eligible for an adjustment of status because of the approved VAWA petition, she still dismissed his request. The immigration judge cited marriage fraud, false testimony given by Manguriu during the removal proceedings, and a failure to pay income taxes as reasons to justify her decision. The Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed the decision of the immigration judge and a petition for judicial review followed. Securing permanent legal resident status requires the expertise of a lawyer. Contact Daniella Lyttle at the Lytlle Law Firm by calling 512-215-5225 or visit our website for more information.