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I-130 Approved After Successful BIA Appeal Remand and Stokes Interview and for Sierra Leonean Client in Cleveland Ohio

by JP Sarmiento on January 31, 2018

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CASE: I-130 / BIA Remand / Stokes Interview

CLIENT: Sierra Leone

LOCATION: Cleveland OH

Our client came from Sierra Leone in January 2011 as a visitor. She married her U.S. Citizen husband in September 2013. Her authorized stay period was expired at the time of her marriage. Due to her overstay, our client was placed in removal proceedings in December 2013.  She retained our office in January 2014 for legal assistance for her removal proceedings and I-130 filing.

Unfortunately, on November 5, 2015, the USCIS Cleveland office denied our client’s I-130 petition, after an almost three-hour Stokes interview. Before and at the interview, extensive evidence of bona fide marriage covering 2 years of marriage was submitted. The couple was able to answer a majority of the questions in the two and half hour interview, and the grounds and discrepancies relied upon by the USCIS in denying the I-130 compared to the majority and relevance of the correctly answered questioned together with the extensive evidence is relatively minor.

In response to this denial decision, our client timely filed a Notice of Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals from a decision of a USCIS officer on December 5, 2015 through the assistance of our office.  The BIA appeal was pending for a long time. Eventually, on July 8, 2016, the BIA found that a remand is warranted for our client’s case.  As a result, on September 26, 2017, our client and her U.S. Citizen husband appeared at the USCIS Cleveland Field Office for the I-130 follow-up interview after this case was remanded to the USCIS.

Even after the second interview, the I-130 was pending without any issuance of RFE or Notice of Intent to Deny. In the meanwhile, our client filed Motion for Continuance for her Master Calendar hearing appearance based on pending I-130 petition. The Cleveland Immigration Court kept granting our Motions. Nevertheless, the I-130 petition was still pending.

The USCIS Cleveland Field Office finally approved our client’s I-130 petition on January 23, 2018. Now, our client can file the adjustment of status application if the Immigration Court grants our Motion to Terminate without prejudice.

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