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Immigration- I-360 petition-Due Process

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 10, 2024//

Immigration- I-360 petition-Due Process

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 10, 2024//

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Maria Smith v. Merrick Garland

Case No.: 23-2874

Officials: Ripple, Hamilton, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Immigration- I-360 petition-Due Process

Maria Smith, a Mexican citizen, faced denial of legal status in the U.S. by immigration authorities. Smith had been married to Arlo Henry Smith, Sr., a U.S. citizen, who initiated a Form I-130 petition seeking to classify her as his immediate-relative spouse. Tragically, Arlo passed away while the petition was pending, leading to its automatic conversion into an I-360, Widow(er) Petition. Both the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Board of Immigration Appeals rejected Smith’s I-360 petition, citing her failure to sufficiently prove the bona fides of her marriage to Arlo for immigration purposes. This determination stemmed from evidence of Smith’s ongoing relationship with her ex-husband and her inconsistent statements to immigration authorities.

Smith brought a lawsuit against the United States Attorney General, USCIS, and the Board, alleging wrongful denial of her I-360 petition and violation of her Fifth Amendment right to due process. The Eastern District of Wisconsin dismissed her complaint, finding her allegations lacking in plausibility. The court determined she hadn’t adequately shown that USCIS and the Board acted improperly, deviated from legally mandated procedures, or violated the substantive aspect of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

The Seventh Circuit concluded that Smith’s assertions—that the agencies disregarded evidence and made arbitrary decisions in denying her petition—lacked merit. Furthermore, the court affirmed that the agencies adhered to the requisite legal procedures. Ultimately, the court rejected Smith’s contention that the agencies infringed upon her procedural and substantive due process rights under the Fifth Amendment.

Affirmed.

Decided 06/03/24

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