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Case 2:16-cv-06463 Document 1 Filed 08/26/16 Page 1 of 8 Page ID #:1
Sanjay Sobti, Esq.
US Law Center
4230 Green River Roa...
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Ankamah v. USCIS, No-16-06463 Complaint Fighting Marriage Fraud Findings (C.D. CA Aug. 26, 2016)

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Ankamah v. USCIS, No-16-06463 Complaint Fighting Marriage Fraud Findings (C.D. CA Aug. 26, 2016)

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Ankamah v. USCIS, No-16-06463 Complaint Fighting Marriage Fraud Findings (C.D. CA Aug. 26, 2016)

  1. 1. Case 2:16-cv-06463 Document 1 Filed 08/26/16 Page 1 of 8 Page ID #:1 Sanjay Sobti, Esq. US Law Center 4230 Green River Road Corona, CA 92880 (951) 371-0027 uslawcorona@gmail.com Attorney for Plaintiffs, Alfred Ankamah and Mary Ankamah IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA ALFRED ANKAMAH; and MARY ANKAMAH Plaintiffs, vs. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) SUSAN CURDA, District Director, ) Citizenship and Immigration Services; ) JEH JOHNSON, Secretary, Department of ) Homeland Security; LORETTA LYNCH, ) United States Attorney Genera) ) Defendants, ) ) _) COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF
  2. 2. Case 2:16-cv-06463 Document 1 Filed 08/26/16 Page 2 of 8 Page ID #:2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Sanjay Sobti, Esq. US Law Center 4230 Green River Road Corona, CA 92880 (951) 371-0027 uslawcorona@gmail.com Attorney for Plaintiffs, Alfred Ankamah and Mary Ankamah IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA ALFRED ANKAMAH; and MARY ANKAMAH Plaintiffs, vs. SUSAN CURDA, District Director, Citizenship and Immigration Services; JEH JOHNSON, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security; LORETTA LYNCH, United States Attorney General Defendants, ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 22 INTRODUCTION 23 COMES NOW the Plaintiffs, Alfred Ankamah ("Mr. Ankamah") and Mary Ankamah ("Mrs. Ankamah"), by and 24 through their undersigned counsel, seeking declaratory relief against Defendants, state as follows: 25 1. This is an individual action for declaratory relief, authorized by the Declaratory Judgment Act, 8 26 U.S.C. § 2201, and the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), 5 § 701 et. seq. This action challenges the arbitrary, 27 capricious and unwarranted actions ofDefendants in refusing to grant Form 1-130, spousal immigration petition of 28 1
  3. 3. Case 2:16-cv-06463 Document 1 Filed 08/26/16 Page 3 of 8 Page ID #:3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 1 4 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 United States Citizen Spouse, Mr. Ankamah, on behalf ofhis wife, Mrs. Ankamah, pursuant to§ 20l(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"). 2. Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah seek declaratory reliefagainst Defendants for Defendants' unwarranted departure from existing polices and practices, erroneous interpretations of the law, and failure to administer properly the INA 8 U.S.C. section 1101 et. seq. and applicable regulations. JURISDICTION 3. This Court has jurisdiction to review a final agency decision denying an 1-130 on the basis of purported marriage fraud under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 701 et. seq. See Sheikh v. U.S. Dept. o Homeland Sec., 685 F. Supp. 2d 1076 (9th Cir. 2009) (stating that "agency actions are... reviewable under federal question jurisdiction.") See also Ginters v. Fraizer, 614 F.3d 822, at 828-829 (8th Cir. 2010) (finding U.S. District Court has subject matter jurisdiction to review USCIS denial ofl-130 Petition for Alien Relative). Under the APA, this Court reviews agency decisions to determine if they are "arbitrary, capricious, an abuse ofdiscretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law." 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). A good faith marriage determination is not a discretionary decision barred from review by 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii), which precludes jurisdiction over only those discretion decisions "the authority for which is specified under this subchapter to be in the discretion of the Attorney General." See Kucana v. Holder, 558 U.S. 233 (2010)(holding that the key words "specified under this subchapter" refer to Attorney General determinations made discretionary by statute, and not to discretionary determinations by regulations.) VENUE 4. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(e) as amended, a civil action may be brought, and venue is proper, in any judicial district in which a defendant in an action resides where each defendant is "[a]n officer or employee ofthe United States or any agency thereof acting in his official capacity or under color of legal authority, or an agency of the United States." 5. Plaintiffs Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah are residents ofthe Central District ofCalifornia, and Defendant, Citizenship and Immigration Services ("CIS"), is an agency that operates within this district. Furthermore, many of the events, acts or omissions giving rise to the claims occurred in this judicial district. 2
  4. 4. Case 2:16-cv-06463 Document 1 Filed 08/26/16 Page 4 of 8 Page ID #:4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 1 4 1 5 16 17 18 1 9 20 21 22 23 PARTIES Plaintiffs 6. PlaintiffMrs. Ankamah is a 53-year-old native ofGhana who married Mr. Ankamah, aU. S. citizen, more than three years ago on July 26, 2013. Prior to her marriage to Mr. Ankamah, Mrs. Ankamah was known as Mary Tetteh Larnor. PlaintiffMr. Ankamah is a U.S. citizen and a resident of Culver City, California. Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah are the Petitioner and Beneficiary, respectively, of a Form I-130 spousal petition filed pursuant to INA§ 20l(b), seeking to classify Mrs. Ankamah as an immediate relative. Defendants 7. Defendant Susan Curda is the duly appointed District Director of the Los Angeles District Office ofU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") which unlawfully denied Mr. Ankamah's I-130 petition fo Mrs. Ankamah. USCIS is a federal agency within the Department ofHomeland Security ("DHS"). Ms. Curda is charged with any and all responsibilities and authority in the administration of the USCIS as have been delegated or prescribed by the Attorney General. Plaintiff.'> bring suit against Ms. Curda in her official capacity as District Director. 8. Defendant Jeh Charles Johnson is the duly appointed Secretary ofDHS, a federal agency, and Plaintiffs bring suit against Mr. Johnson in his official capacity. 9. Defendant Loretta Lynch is the duly appointed Attorney General of the United States of America. She is charged with the administration and enforcement ofthe immigration laws. 8 U.S.C. §1103(a). Plaintiffs bring suit against Ms. Lynch in her official capacity as the Attorney Gemal ofthe United States. EXHAUSTION OF REMEDIES 10. Under McCarthy v. Madigan, 503 U.S. 140, at 144-145 (1992), parties must exhaust available administrative remedies before seeking relief from the federal courts. 11. On or about May 8, 2015 USCIS sent a Notice oflntent to Deny ("NOID") to Mr. and Mrs. 2 4 Ankamah. On or about June 1, 2015, Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah filed a rebuttal to the NOID. On or about January 8, 25 2016, USCIS denied Mr. Ankamah's Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for his wife, Mrs. Ankamah, after 2 6 finding Mrs. Ankamah's prior marriage to James Smith, a L".S. citizen, was entered into for the purpose ofevading 27 immigration laws. 28 3
  5. 5. Case 2:16-cv-06463 Document 1 Filed 08/26/16 Page 5 of 8 Page ID #:5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 12. On or about January 21 , 2016, Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah filed a Notice of Appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals ("BIA'') and filed an appeal brief with the BIA on April 17, 2016. The BIA dismissed Mr. an Mrs. Ankamah's appeal and affirmed the USCIS Officer's denial of the Form I-130. 13. Because Mr. Ankamah appealed the USerS' decision to the BIA, he has exhausted his administrative remedies and his only remedy is by way ofthis judicial action. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY 14. Mrs. Ankamab is a native ofGhana and the wife ofMr. Ankamah, a U.S. citizen. Mrs. Ankamah entered the U.S. on June 12, 2003 on a B l/B2 visitor visa and has not left the U.S. since her initial entry. Mrs. Ankamah married her prior spouse, James Smith, in good faith on or about November 22, 2004 in Arlington, Virginia. Mrs. Ankamah's marriage to Mr. Smith was a bona fide marriage because Mrs. Ankamah intended to build a joint life with Mr. Smith. However, unbeknownst to Mrs. Ankamah, Mr. Smith was still married to another woman, Gifty Doku, for whom he filed an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on July 13, 2004. On or about February 6, 2005, Mr. Smith filed another Form I-130 on behalf ofMrs. Ankamah, but subsequently withdrew his petition on or about June 29, 2006. On or about March 2010, Mrs. Ankamah and Mr. Smith dissolved their marriage. 15. On or about October 8, 2006, a marriage fraud facilitator and preparer, Eric Amoah, was convicte ofimmigration fraud for violating 18 U.S.C. 1546(a) and was sentenced to forty-five months imprisonment. USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security ("FDNS") officers and Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") interviewed Mr. Amoah, who admitted that he facilitated fraudulent immigration petitions, applications and supporting documentation to assist foreign nationals in obtaining immigration status by circumventing immigration laws. During the interview, Mr. Amoah allegedly identified Mrs. Ankamah and her then husband, Mr. Smith, as a marriage he had arranged and facilitated. Neither Mrs. Ankamah nor Mr. Smith admitted to any fraudulent purpose underlying their marriage. Further, there was no other evidence proving Mrs. Ankamah's marriage to Mr. Smith was fraudulent. USerS relied solely on Mr. Amoah's allegations in finding that a fraudulent marriage existed between Mrs. Ankamah and Mr. Smith. Because Mrs. Ankamah entered into the marriage in good faith and intended to build a joint life with Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith was eligible for a an immigrant visa under INA §§ 201(b) and 245, et. seq., 8 U.S.C. §1255, et. seq. 16. Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah entered into a bona fide marriage on July 26, 2013 in Los Angeles, 2 8 California and she therefore became eligible for an immigrant visa. Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah have jointly resided at 4
  6. 6. Case 2:16-cv-06463 Document 1 Filed 08/26/16 Page 6 of 8 Page ID #:6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 2 1 22 23 24 25 3824 Overland Avenue, apt. #6, Culver City, California 90232, from March 2009 to present. On or about May 8, 2015 USCIS sent a Notice oflntent to Deny (''NOID") to Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah. On or about June I, 2015, Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah filed a rebuttal to the NOID. On or about January 8, 2016, USCIS denied Mr. Ankamah's Form 1-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for his wife, Mrs. Ankamah, after fmding Mrs. Ankamah's prior marriage to James Smith, a U.S. citizen, was entered into for the purpose ofevading immigration laws. On or about January 21, 2016, Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah filed a Notice ofAppeal with the Board oflmmigration Appeals ("BIA'') and filed an appeal briefwith the BIA on April 17,2016. The BIA dismissed Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah's appeal and affirmed the USCIS Officer's denial ofthe Form 1-130. IRREPARABLE HARM 17. Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah have suffered, are suffering, and will continue to suffer significant and irreparable harm because of the Defendants' actions herein. This harm includes the harms alleged throughout this complaint, and the following: 18. Because ofDefendants' willful and unreasonable denial of the immigrant visa petition, Mr. and Mrs. Ar1kamah have been unable to fully appreciate the joys ofa stable, worry-free marriage over the last 3 years. Such lack ofmarital repose continues for so long as Mrs. Ankamah is unable to obtain lawful status in the U.S. and build her life with Alfred. 19. Alfred has two children, Richardson A. Addo and Vera A. Addo, both ofwhom Alfred had previously filed Fom1 J.-130 Petition for Alien Relative. After engaging in the process of sponsoring his children to obtain residency in the U.S., Alfred now faces the excruciating choice of either relocating his whole family to Ghana to maintain his life with his wife Mrs. Ankamah, or remain in the U.S. while his wife is forced to depart the U.S. if the denial ofMr. Ankamah's 1-130 on his wife's beha1fis upheld. 20. 21. CAUSES OT!' ACTION I. Violation of II.~A§ 201(b) Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1 through 20 as if fully set forth herein. Defendants' denial ofMr. Ankamah's Form 1-130 on behalf ofhis wife deprived the plaintiffs of 2 6 their rights to have their immigrant visa petition approved pursuant to § 201(b) because the Defendants' practices, 27 policies, conduct, and failures to act as alleged herein were contrary to governing law. 28 22. As a result, Plaintiffs have suffered irreparable harm entitling them to relief. 5
  7. 7. Case 2:16-cv-06463 Document 1 Filed 08/26/16 Page 7 of 8 Page ID #:7 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 1 6 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 23. 24. II. Violation of Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §701 Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs I through 20 as iffully set forth herein. Defendants' practices, policies, conduct, and failures to act as alleged herein deprive Plaintiffs of their rights to have their immigrant visa petition approved pursuant to INA § 201(b). 25. 26. 27. As a result, Plaintiffs have suffered irreparable harm entitling them to relief. ill. Violation of INA§ 204(c) Plaintiffs incorporate paragraphs 1 through 20 as iffully set forth herein. Defendants' practices, policies, conduct, and failures to act as alleged herein deprive Plaintiffs of their rights to have their immigrant visa petition adjudicated without the unwarranted adverse application ofiNA CLAIMS FOR RELIEF 28. Defendants willfully and oppressively denied Alfred's Form 1-130 petition for Mrs. Ankamah, thereby depriving Mr. Ankamah ofthe benefit ofhaving his wife remain in the U.S. as a Lawful Permanent Resident. 29. Defendants owe the Ankamah family the duty to adjudicate fairly and approve the Immigrant Visa Petition, and have unreasonably failed to perform that duty. Plaintiffs have:: provided all relevant information and facts in the case showing that Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah's marriage is bona fide. 30. Mrs. Ankamah's prior marriage to James Smith should have no bearing on the adjudication ofMr. Ankamah's I-130 petition for his wife because she married Mr. Smith in good faith. However, Mary was unaware that Mr. Smith was already married and her marriage to Mr. Smith was therefore void from the beginning. Also, Mr. Smith withdrew his petition for Mrs. Ankamah, which the USCIS acknowledged, stating that the petition is null and void, before USCIS could adjudicate the petition. Therefore, the§ 204(c) bar cannot be used in the present petition of Alfred on behalfofhis wife. 31. The Ankamah family is truly suffering because ofUSCIS's erroneous determination that Mrs. 2 4 Ankamah's prior marriage was fraudulent. USCIS relied exclusively on the oral statements of a convicted marriage 25 fraud facilitator- a man who built a career around lying-without providing substantial and probative evidence of 2 6 any fraud allegedly committed by Mrs. Ankamah. Mrs. Ankamah intended to build a life together with Mr. Smith; 27 however, Mr. Smith was dishonest from the beginning of the marriage making it a non-viable marriage. A non- 28 6
  8. 8. Case 2:16-cv-06463 Document 1 Filed 08/26/16 Page 8 of 8 Page ID #:8 viable marriage does not necessarily make it a fraudulent marriage, and there is no direct evidence from either Mrs. 1 2 Ankamah or Mr. Smith oftheir intent to enter into a fraudulent marriage. PRAYER FOR RELIEF 3 4 WHEREFORE, Mr. and Mrs. Ankamah pray that this Honorable Court: 1. Review this Complaint and render a declaratory judgment that Mrs. Ankamah is entitled to 5 6 classification as an immediate relative ofAlfred, a U.S. Citizen. 2. Award to the Ankamah family reasonable attorneys fees and costs. 7 3. Grant such further relif that this court may deem fit and proper. 8 9 Respectfully submitted this 26th day of August, 2016. 10 11 Date: August 26, 2016 /s/ Sanjay Sobti, Esq. 12 Attorney for Plaintiffs, Alfred Ankamah and Mary Ankamah 13 14 1.5 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 7

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