Chettiar v. Holder

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 01-17-2012
  • Case #: 08-70035; 08-73865
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge S. Thomas for the Court; Circuit Judge Clifton and Senior District Judge J. Carr
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986, the Citizenship and Immigration Services does not lose jurisdiction of a petition to remove conditions placed on residence pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1186a(c)(3)(A) if it fails adjudicate the petition within ninety days.

Venkatraman Chettiar was admitted to the United States as a conditional permanent resident due to his marriage to a citizen. To remain, Chettiar was required to stay for two years and then seek removal of the conditions placed on his residency by submitting a petition to the Citizenship and Immigration Services (“CIS”) during the 90-days preceding the expiration of his two-year residency period. Chettiar submitted the required petition and interviewed with a CIS officer, but the CIS concluded that he failed to provide adequate evidence that the marital relationship was legitimate. A second interview was scheduled, but Chettiar failed to appear because he had recently relocated. The CIS concluded that the marriage was fraudulent. Chettiar moved to terminate the proceedings, arguing that the CIS violated 8 U.S.C. § 1186a(c)(3)(A) because they failed to make a determination on his petition within 90-days of his interview. The Immigration Judge denied Chettiar’s motion and the Board of Immigration Appeals affirmed. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit found that under the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986 (“IMFA”), the CIS does not lose jurisdiction over a case if it fails to adjudicate within the statutory period. The court reasoned that this conclusion would be contrary to the central intent of the IMFA. PETITION DENIED IN PART AND DISMISSED IN PART.

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