Category Archives: Visa

Attorney General Sessions Denies Request Of DHS That He Suspend Briefing Schedules And Clarify Question Presented And Grants, In Part, Parties Request For Extension Of Deadline For Submitting Briefs.

On March 30, 2018, Attorney General Sessions issued an order addressing requests from both parties in a case he had previously referred to himself for review. The parties had been asked to submit briefs and schedules for initial, amici and reply briefs had been set.

However, respondent requested an extension of the deadline for submitting initial briefs and, 3 days later, DHS moved to: 1)suspend the briefing schedules to allow the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA or Board) to rule on the certification order of the Immigration Judge (IJ), 2)clarify the question presented, and 3)extend the deadline for submitting its initial brief.  Respondent then filed a request for the same relief.

In his order, the Attorney General (AG) first stated that certification from the IJ was “not properly pending before the Board”, claiming the IJ had not acted within his authority as delineated by the controlling regulations as he had not issued a “decision” on remand that could be certified to the BIA.

The AG also denied DHS’s request to clarify the question presented, stating that he had requested briefing on whether, and under what circumstances, being a victim of private criminal activity constitutes a cognizable “particular social group” (PSG) for asylum or withholding of removal purposes.  Noting that he had invited the parties and interested amici to brief the relevant points, the AG declared that if being a victim of private criminal activity qualifies one as a PSG member, “the briefs should identify such situations” or explain why such situations do not exist. Observing that DHS was requesting clarification because “this question has already been answered at least in part, by the Board”, AG Sessions held that “Board precedent…does not bind my ultimate decision in this matter”, citing to INA §103(a)(1).  He then gave new duties for the filing of initial, amici, and reply briefs, holding that no further requests for extensions would be granted.

Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N 247 (A.G. 2018)

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When getting an Immigrant Visa or “Adjustment of Status” through marriage, what questions are asked to establish that a marriage is bona fide?

In a marriage visa interview, the officers are trained to review documentation that leads him or her to determine whether the marriage is bona fide. They are also trained to ask a series of questions that are not always the same. These questions are usually generalized and the responses from the spouses will provide the officer with more detailed questions.

Importantly, if the noncitizen spouse is applying at a U.S. Embassy experience shows the interview process to be rather abbreviated. Thus, the following examples are when the couple are seeking “adjustment of status”, which takes place at a USCIS Field Office. An Officer may ask the couple:

  • what they do together
  • biographical information about each member to the couple or the other
  • what is his mother’s name
  • what is her father’s name
  • have you ever met her brother and spoken to her sisters
  • information about their trips and vacations together
  • how the relationship began

Usually, the interview questions are not drastically invasive and the couple are together throughout the interview. However, if an officer begins to suspect fraud or misrepresentation, the couple’s interview could be stopped and a new appointment date scheduled. At the next interview, the couple will most likely be separated and subjected to what is known as a “Stokes Interview”. In rare situations, the Officer could conduct the Stokes Interview when the issue is identified and skip the whole process of scheduling a new interview date and time.