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Atieh v. Riordan

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

August 14, 2015

RANIAH FATHI ATIEH and FUAD FAROUQ ATIEH, Plaintiffs, Appellants,
v.
DENIS C. RIORDAN, ET AL., Defendants, Appellees

APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS. Hon. Rya W. Zobel, U.S. District Judge.

Saher J. Macarius, Audrey Botros, and Law Offices of Saher J. Macarius LLC for appellants.

Benjamin C. Mizer, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, William C. Peachey, Director, Colin A. Kisor, Deputy Director, and J. Max Weintraub, Senior Litigation Counsel, for appellees.

Before Howard, Chief Judge, Selya and Thompson, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 136

SELYA, Circuit Judge.

To borrow a phrase often attributed to a homespun philosopher, Lawrence " Yogi" Berra, this case is dé jà vu all over again. For a second time, Fuad Farouq Atieh and his wife Raniah appeal from a district court judgment affirming a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Raniah's petition to grant Fuad lawful permanent resident status. After careful consideration, we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

Fuad Atieh, a Jordanian national, entered the United States on a six-month visa in 1992. He overstayed, and roughly a decade later (on March 17, 2003), he was placed in removal proceedings by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). While those proceedings were pending, Fuad married his first cousin, Jamileh Khudari (a U.S. citizen), at a January 2004 ceremony in Lowell, Massachusetts. His new wife subsequently filed an I-130 visa petition for an alien relative (here, Fuad). See 8 U.S.C. § 1151(a)(1). The marriage quickly disintegrated: Fuad and Jamileh divorced on December 12, 2004. Not surprisingly, Jamileh withdrew her I-130 petition.

In August of 2005, Fuad married Raniah, who was also a U.S. citizen. Some two months later, Raniah filed an I-130 petition on Fuad's behalf. On March 3, 2006, USCIS interviewed Fuad and Raniah in connection with that petition. Fuad told the examining officer that his earlier marriage to Jamileh had been arranged by the couple's parents and that he had never been in love with her. He admitted, though, that he and his parents had hoped

Page 137

that he might acquire lawful permanent resident status through Jamileh.

In May of 2006, USCIS issued a notice of intent to deny the I-130 petition. See 8 U.S.C. § 1154(c). The notice cited the allegedly fraudulent nature of Fuad's first marriage as the impetus for USCIS's intended decision and invited the applicants to submit any additional evidence that they might have in support of their position. The Atiehs responded by submitting several affidavits, including affidavits from Jamileh, Jamileh's parents, Fuad's parents, and Fuad himself. In his statement, Fuad acknowledged that, prior to marrying Jamileh, he had expressed a romantic interest in Raniah and had contacted her parents to gain their approval, only to be rebuffed.

On December 6, 2007, USCIS denied the I-130 petition. It found, based on the record as a whole, that Fuad's marriage to Jamileh was designed to evade the immigration laws. This decision was upheld by the BIA, which concluded that the Atiehs had failed to prove the bona fides of Fuad's first marriage.

The Atiehs countered by attacking on two fronts. First, they sued in the federal district court, seeking to set aside the BIA's ukase.[1] Second, they filed yet another I-130 petition with USCIS. The district court prudently held the Atiehs' suit ...


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