Attorney Deborah Weber’s Review of the Board of Immigration Appeals Decision in Matter of Eugene Reagan OTIENDE, Beneficiary of a visa petition filed by Todd Corley Dunn, Petitioner

July 5, 2013 in Attorney Blog

This case involves an American citizen petitioner who filed an immediate relative petition on behalf of his alien step-child. The issue in this case is whether the USCIS can apply INA Section 204(c) to deny a step-parent petition on behalf of a step-child beneficiary.

In this case the petitioner filed visa petitions on behalf of the beneficiary’s mother as his wife and the beneficiary as his step-son. The USCIS determined that the beneficiary’s mother was ineligible to obtain the visa under INA 204(c) due to a previous immigration violation. The USCIS then determined that if the mother was ineligible for a visa that the stepson beneficiary was also ineligible. This USCIS determination was a leap of logic too far. The BIA overruled the USCIS and found that the mother’s ineligibility did not render the step-child ineligible for an immigrant visa.

The BIA ordered that the case be remanded to determine whether a valid step-child relationship exists between the petitioner and beneficiary. This decision has a biblical lesson to it in that the BIA essentially held that the sins of the parent shall not be visited upon the child. The mother’s immigration violation does not prevent the child from obtaining a visa.