United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
RONALD A. GUZMÁN United States District Judge.
Court grants Defendants' motion for summary judgment
. Civil case terminated.
case concerns plaintiff Celestina Kweicien's challenge to
the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service's
(“USCIS”) denial of her petition to have her
husband, Gediminas Jukna (“Jukna”), admitted as a
lawful permanent resident by virtue of their
Statutory and Regulatory Framework
United States citizen who seeks lawful permanent resident
status for a spouse/foreign national must file a petition
(Form I-130) with USCIS. 8 U.S.C. § 1154(a)(1)(A)(i); 8
C.F.R. § 204.1(a)(1). Form I-130 provides USCIS with an
opportunity to investigate the claimed marriage, and, if
granted, establishes a “formal relationship”
between the petitioner and the beneficiary. Akram v.
Holder, 721 F.3d 853, 83 (7th Cir. 2013). That
relationship, in turn, qualifies the beneficiary as eligible
for certain immigration visas as an “immediate
relative” of a United States citizen. Id.
USCIS may not, however, consider the alien's (separate)
application to “adjust status” until it first
recognizes the validity of the underlying marriage. 8 U.S.C.
§§ 1125, 1151(b)(2)(A)(i), 1154.
respect, USCIS is categorically barred from recognizing a
marriage under certain circumstances, such as marriage fraud:
[N]o petition shall be approved if (1) the alien has
previously been accorded, or has sought to be accorded, an
immediate relative or preference status as the spouse of a
citizen of the United States or the spouse of an alien
lawfully admitted for permanent residence, by reason of a
marriage determined by the Attorney General to have been
entered into for the purpose of evading the immigration laws,
or (2) the Attorney General has determined that the alien has
attempted or conspired to enter into a marriage for the
purpose of evading the immigration laws.
8 U.S.C. § 1154(c). The authority to decide issues of
marriage fraud in this context has been delegated to USCIS
for initial review, see 8.C.F.R. § 100.1, and
to the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”),
which generally issues the final agency decision,
see 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(d)(7).
Jukna and His Marriages
is a Lithuanian native and citizen. (Defs.' Facts [Dkt. #
36] ¶¶ 1-2.) He entered the United States in 2001
on a B1/B2 visitor visa and married Samantha Crawford
(“Ms. Crawford”) on February 1, 2005.
(Id.) This would be the first of his three marriages
in the United States.
weeks after they married, Ms. Crawford filed an I-130
petition with USCIS, seeking to classify Jukna as an
immediate relative of a U.S. citizen. (Id. ¶
4.) But Jukna and Ms. Crawford failed to appear for the
scheduled hearing/interview with USCIS (set for September 28,
2005), and they divorced within the next year, on July 28,
2006. (Id. ¶¶ 5-6.) Accordingly, on
October 25, 2010, USCIS denied Ms. Crawford's I-130
petition, finding that the marriage had dissolved on July 28,
2006 and that there was insufficient evidence to support her
claim of a bona fide relationship between her and
Jukna. (Id. ¶ 7.)
met his second wife, Andrea Jimenez (“Ms.
Jimenez”), two months later at a New Year's party,
in December 2010. (Id. ¶¶ 8-9.) They
married on May 15, 2011, and were divorced by April 19, 2012.
(Id. ¶¶ 8-10.) The judgment of dissolution
of marriage indicates that Jukna and Ms. Jimenez began living
separately in June 2011, just one month after they became
husband and wife. (Id.) Ten days prior to divorcing
Ms. Jimenez, however, Jukna was placed into removal
proceedings. (Id. ¶ 11.)
married his third wife (Plaintiff) on July 18, 2012, shortly
after the removal proceedings were initiated. (Id.
¶ 12.) Like Ms. Crawford, Plaintiff filed an I-130
petition on Jukna's behalf. (Id. ¶ 13.) In
support of the petition, she filed a number of Jukna's
tax returns, medical bills, and a copy of a lease.
(Id. ¶ 14.) With the exception of the tax
returns from 2005-2012, the documents provided evidence of
Jukna's relationship with Plaintiff, but they did not
establish his relationship with his prior wives (beyond
marriage certificates and divorce judgments). (Id.)
USCIS's Interview and Investigation
interview was held on July 23, 2013. (Id. ¶
15.) There, Jukna provided details about his arrival into the
United States in 2001, his employment history, and places he
had lived. (Id. ¶ 16.) He was unable to
remember the exact date of his marriage to his first wife
(Ms. Crawford), but claimed they married in 2004.
(Id. ¶ 17.) (They actually married in 2005,
id.) He did, however, recall that she worked at a
hospital in some capacity, although he was unable to describe
her duties. (Id. ¶ 18.) When asked about Ms.
Crawford's family, Jukna asserted that her parents'
names were Michelle and John. (Id. ¶ 19.) (Ms.
Crawford's father's actual name is Tony, id.
terms of his life with Ms. Crawford, Jukna was unable to
recall what bills the two shared during their marriage.
(Id. ¶ 21.) He also stated that Ms. Crawford
had only one child from a previous relationship.
(Id. ¶ 22.) Yet, when he was confronted with
information that she had a second child in February 2006 -
conceived during the duration of their marriage - Jukna
stated that Ms. Crawford had drinking problems and that they
were not sleeping together at the time. (Id. ¶
his first I-130 petition and the missed USCIS interview,
Jukna explained that he and Ms. Crawford did not appear
because they were already separated. (Id. ¶
26.) That I-130 petition, moreover, stated that Jukna and Ms.
Crawford lived together in Lemont, Illinois for about 4-5
months after marrying (from February 2005 through June or
July 2005), whereas on April 1, 2005, Ms. Crawford filed a
police report (for an unrelated incident) that listed her
address as 1616 N. Poplar Avenue, Round Lake, Illinois
(Id. ¶¶ 36-39.) This latter address was
also reported as the residence of Douglass Whitt, Jr.
(“Mr. Whitt”), who is listed as the father of Ms.
Crawford's second child on the birth certificate.
to questions about his own family, Jukna stated that they
were non-immigrant visa “overstays” and that his
mother and sister were placed in removal proceedings because
they did not pass the interview. (Id. ¶ 27-28.)
He further noted that his mother had married another United
States citizen, John Garcia (“Mr. Garcia”).
(Id. ¶ 29.) Mr. Garcia, however, previously
informed USCIS of some significant details: he stated in 2005
that his marriage to Jukna's mother was fraudulent and
that they married only to “help her stay in
America” and because she paid him. (Id. ¶
40.) He further claimed that Ms. Crawford's marriage to
Jukna was similarly fraudulent. (Id.)
concerning Jukna's second wife, Ms. Jimenez, Jukna
wavered on when exactly they were married, initially stating
that he married her on May 5, 2010 but later claiming that
they married in 2011. (Id. ¶ 30.) Jukna further
noted that Ms. Jimenez did not move in with him; she was