Successful RFE Response For I-130
- Applicant: Mr. Lopez
- Nationality: Mexico
- Case Type: I-130
- Client’s wife already in deportation proceedings when they got married
- High level of suspicion regarding the legitimacy of their marriage due to few joint documents
- Both Husband and Wife had a prior marriage
- Short time frame to prepare response to RFE
Life can be complicated and messy. It can also be straightforward and easy. Sometimes, paradoxically, it can be both, as it was for Mr. Lopez and his wife. Mr. Lopez had been previously married, but sadly his first wife passed away due to complications from cancer, she left behind her husband and two children. However, eventually as time passed, Mr. Lopez met a new woman and fell in love again. Their love was straightforward and uncomplicated. She quickly became ingrained in Mr. Lopez’s life and acted as a loving mother to his two children. Mr. Lopez decided to marry her. Shortly after, he filed an I-130 petition for her to get her green card. However, way back in 2005, Ms. Lopez was put in the deportation Proceedings, and had already been issued a Notice to Appear. Because she married a U.S. Citizen while in the process, the legitimacy of their marriage was thrown into a suspicious light. Fraud is something that United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) rightly takes very seriously, and that suspicious light cast serious doubt as to whether or not Ms. Lopez would ever be approved for a green card. There was a good chance that a family, so recently reformed and whole, would be torn apart again. It was a truly a nightmare for the entire family.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
Because of the questionable look of their marriage, we anticipated that our client would get a Request for Evidence (RFE). USCIS uses RFEs to make the petitioners prove the legitimacy of their case, with this case being the legitimacy of their marriage. We knew we would have a high bar to clear regarding this case, but we were unafraid to take it on and we believed we could successfully resolve this case for our clients. When we received the RFE, we met with our client and developed a strategy to overcome any objections and ultimately receive a favorable outcome. We focused upon the religious nature of their relationship and marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Lopez follow Catholicism. Their marriage services followed all the traditional trappings of a Catholic marriage. They even attended a religious marriage retreat that focused on the sanctity and holiness of marriage.
“We packaged a lot of pictures of them on their honeymoon, with their children, we gathered notarized affidavits from friends and family stating that they knew them to be in a legitimate relationship. We focused on their religious retreat and on how she had become a mother to her step children. We wanted to show that their marriage, their love was real.” – case-worker
The key to getting a successful resolution was the large amount of customized preparation we had to go through to make sure that the Lopez family had all the documentation that they needed. The labor was intensive. Documenting love can be a tricky, finicky endeavor. Finding friends and family to provide notarized statements is a long, arduous process. We had to dig deeply into their lives, to extract every possible example to show the adjudicating officer that this was a committed, lasting, loving marriage made in good faith. These types of cases had a spectacular fail rate, and we were already starting behind the eight ball.
There are other firms or offices that would not have taken this case. Those firms use templates to help their clients, and if the situation that the client finds themselves in is too different from the template, they will simply tell them that it is too difficult to achieve success. Our office is used to the unique and the unusual however, so we were not deterred by the unusual circumstances surrounding the Lopez family. The documentation we provided in the Response to the Request For Evidence was extensive. We put together a large volume of pictures of them on their honeymoon, pictures of them with their children, we had friends get affidavits notarized stating that the Lopez’ relationship was legitimate. We highlighted the religious marriage retreat, shaking off the light of suspicion in favor of the light of a traditional, religious family. All of this took time, so much so that up until two days before their case was to be overseen by USCIS we were still gathering and preparing documentation.
Mr. Lopez’s petition was approved. Mrs. Lopez is now legally residing with her husband and the step children she became a mother to in the United States. She is safe from worry and doubt about her immigration status.
*Name has been changed to protect client identity
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