Chutzpah Squared in the Immigration Courts

By David North on August 21, 2015

The classic example of chutzpah is that of the killer of his parents throwing himself on the mercy of the court because he's an orphan.

I don't know if that ever actually happened, but an almost comparable case can be found in recent federal court records.

In this case it is an illegal alien whose marriage (or maybe "marriage") to a citizen was ruled by USCIS to be fraudulent later claiming that he should be given legal status because he had been abused by his wife.

Adding to the bizarreness, USCIS initially ruled in his favor on his "self-petition" under the Violence Against Women Act.

Let's backtrack. Joel N. Manguriu came to the United States from Kenya in 1999 as a student; he overstayed his visa, thus becoming an illegal alien. He married a U.S. citizen, one Ms. Lopez, who in 2006 filed a petition seeking green card status for her husband. DHS denied the petition on the grounds of marriage fraud and in 2009 started removal proceedings against him.

At this point Manguriu was before an immigration judge and argued, successfully, that his case should be left in limbo until his abused-husband application could be adjudicated. The IJ agreed. (Meanwhile, as other court records reveal, he went through bankruptcy in 2011.) Then USCIS — despite the previous finding of marriage fraud — granted his abuse-of-husband application.

I find it hard to believe that you can convince a government agency that you were abused by a spouse in a marriage that the same agency had already ruled was fraudulent — but that's USCIS.

One cannot determine from the First Circuit's ruling whether the abusing wife was the same one who had lied for him on the 2006 petition, but since the court did not identify the wife by name, I assume it was the same Ms. Lopez. The PACER citation is here.

Manguriu then was in the odd position that one part of DHS wanted him removed, but another part had ruled that he was eligible to stay because of his abused husband status. This left the immigration judge in a position, as a matter of discretion, to rule one way or the other.

She decided, on the multiple grounds of "marriage fraud, misrepresentation of material facts, given false testimony in the removal proceedings, and not consistently paid income taxes owed", according to an article in the July 27 Interpreter Releases, the immigration bar's trade paper, that he should leave the country. Meanwhile, USCIS revoked its earlier decision in his favor on the abused-husband application.

Manguriu, now in the country illegally for about 15 years, then appealed to the First Circuit, saying that he had not received in the mail a proper notice of the revocation. The appeals court ruled that his claim about the notice was "barely sufficient" and sent the matter back to the Board of Immigration Appeals to figure out if the revocation was handled properly by DHS.

So Manguriu is apparently still in the United States, still in the courts, and another example of how difficult and time consuming it is to actually deport an alien with a lawyer, no matter how unattractive a resume the alien has.