Seidu Iddrissu v. Alejandro Mayorkas

NONPRECEDENTIAL DISPOSITION To be cited only in accordance with FED. R. APP. P. 32.1 United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit Chicago, Illinois 60604 Argued December 6, 2021 Decided August 1, 2022 Before KENNETH F. RIPPLE, Circuit Judge DIANE P. WOOD, Circuit Judge THOMAS L. KIRSCH II, Circuit Judge No. 21-2349 SEIDU IDDRISSU and ROBIN SANDERS, Appeal from the United States District Plaintiffs-Appellants, Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. v. No. 1:19-CV-04391 ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security, et Charles R. Norgle, al., Judge. Defendants-Appellees. ORDER Seidu Iddrissu, a citizen of Ghana, is married to Robin Sanders, an American citizen. Sanders petitioned to have Iddrissu recognized as her immediate relative spouse, which would entitle him to lawful permanent residency in this nation. But the immigration authorities concluded that Sanders’s petition must be denied because Iddrissu had previously sought to evade the immigration laws by entering into a fraudulent marriage. The couple challenged that determination in federal district court, No. 21-2349 Page 2 but the district court dismissed, ruling that under our precedents the couple had not stated even a plausible claim for relief. We agree and affirm. I Seidu Iddrissu is a citizen of Ghana who seeks permanent residency in the United States through his marriage to an American citizen. To that end, Iddrissu’s American wife, Robin Sanders, filed an I-130 immediate relative visa petition on his behalf in late 2013. This petition, if granted, would cause Iddrissu to be recognized as one of Sanders’s immediate family members, see 8 U.S.C. § 1154(b), entitling him to lawful permanent residency, see 8 U.S.C. § 1151(b)(2)(A)(i). Three years later, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued a Notice of Intent to Deny Sanders’s petition. The NOID indicated that Sanders’s petition was to be denied by reason of the so-called marriage bar codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1154(c), which precludes lawful permanent residency for any non-citizen who has previously sought immediate relative status as the spouse of an American citizen “by reason of a marriage … [found] to have been entered into for the purpose of evading the immigration laws.” As it turns out, Iddrissu had previously been married to another American citizen, a woman named Shirlanda Sivels, from 2004 to 2013. Just as Sanders would later do, Sivels had filed an I-130 petition on Iddrissu’s behalf following their 2004 marriage. But in 2006 Sivels withdrew that petition and, in doing so, apparently admitted that her marriage to Iddrissu had been a sham meant to evade the immigration laws. According to the NOID, Sivels admitted under oath that: (1) her marriage to Iddrissu was for the purpose of his staying in the United States permanently; (2) she had entered into it in exchange for financial support from Iddrissu; and (3) the two had never lived together. The NOID explained that these statements supported application of the marriage bar, but that the couple was entitled by the agency’s regulations to rebut this information within 30 …

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