Matter of Mensah, 28 I&N Dec. 288 (BIA 2021)

On April 14, 2021, the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) upheld an immigration court decision denying Ms. Mensah’s petition for adjustment of status.  The BIA stated that Ms. Mensah’s willful misrepresentation of a material fact resulted in her not meeting her required burden of proof that she was not inadmissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”).

An adjustment of status means that a foreign national is applying for lawful permanent residence status, or a green card, from within the US.  The benefits of lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) status is that the person can live and work in the US indefinitely, and may be able to become a naturalized US citizen in the future. You can qualify to adjust status through an immediate family member who is a United States Citizen, or a lawful permanent resident.

A person who adjusts status based on a marriage to a US citizen that is less than two years duration is granted conditional LPR status for two years. The foreign national must apply to remove the conditions of residence after two years.  If the conditions are not removed, the foreign spouse will lose their conditional status, and be considered removable(deportable) from the U.S.

Ms. Mensah and her first husband filed a joint petition to remove the conditions of residence (Form I-751).   An interview with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) official is one of the requirements.  Ms. Mensah and her husband interviewed with a USCIS official in 2014. The interviewing official had several concerns about the validity of the marriage, and determined that Ms. Mensah had not been forthright in her interview.  The petition was denied.

Ms. Mensah was placed in removal(deportation) proceedings.  She and her husband divorced, and she got remarried.  Her second husband was also a US Citizen.   He filed an  I-130 petition on her behalf so she could adjust status again as the spouse of US citizen.  USCIS granted this petition.

Ms. Mensah  then applied for an adjustment of status before the immigration judge, and the Immigration Judge denied it.  He found that Ms. Mensah had the burden of proof to show that she was not inadmissible under the INA.  She willfully misrepresented a material fact during her USCIS interview in 2014, so she didn’t meet her burden of proof. A willful misrepresentation means that the person had knowledge of the falsehood,  and misrepresented it deliberately.  A material fact is something which is relevant to making a decision.  Her misrepresentation of the validity of her first marriage was a material fact.  The BIA agreed.

This case is important for a few reasons.  It shows how a misrepresentation to a USCIS official can have serious consequences, and that those consequences have no expiration date.  Most people are aware that misrepresenting something in a court of law is quite serious. They may not necessarily think that the same of an USCIS interview. Sometimes, the truth may feel, or actually be, detrimental to one’s case. But at least if you tell the truth and prepare for the consequences, it can be dealt with. When you are caught lying to USCIS, those consequences are severe, permanent and often impossible to overcome.


If you are getting ready, or already have, applied for any action with USCIS or in the immigration court, you should contact the Law Office of Eric M. Mark for a thorough review of your situation. We can help address the problems and create a strategy to help achieve your immigration goals.


The Law Office of Eric M. Mark can be reached at:

201 Washington St.

Newark, NJ 07102



Jersey City, NJ by appointment only



0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *