October 30, 2014
for Review of Dedsions of the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Williams and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.
Hamilton, Circuit Judge.
Kiril Vidinski is a native of Bulgaria. He entered the United
States as a visitor in 1998 but overstayed his visa. He
married a United States citizen, Constance Literski, in 2002,
and in 2005 he and Ms. Li-terski filed petitions seeking
legal permanent resident status for him. Before those
petitions were resolved, Ms. Literski told an investigator
for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that the
marriage had been a sham to obtain immigration benefits for
Vidinski (and money for her). Removal proceedings resulted in
a final order to remove Vidinski, and the Board of
Immigration Appeals dismissed his appeal and later denied his
motion to reopen proceedings based on ineffective assistance
of counsel. He now seeks judicial review, arguing primarily
that he was entitled to cross-examine Ms. Literski, whose
affidavit was critical to the marriage fraud issue. We
dismiss in part and deny the remainder of the petitions on
is no doubt that Vidinski is removable for having overstayed
his 1998 visa. Also, the Board denied his request for
cancellation of removal based on "exceptional and
extremely unusual hardship" to family members. See 8
U.S.C. § 1229b(b)(1)(D). That is a discretionary
decision that we have no jurisdiction to review unless it
involves constitutional claims or questions of law,
Stepanovic v. Filip, 554 F.3d 673, 678 (7th Cir.
2009), and Vidinski presents no such claims or questions. To
the extent Vidinski seeks review of the Board's denial of
his hardship request, we dismiss for lack of jurisdiction.
have jurisdiction to consider the finding by the immigration
judge, affirmed by the Board, that Vidinski had engaged in
marriage fraud, which results in a lifetime ban on being able
to return to the United States. See 8 U.S.C. § 1154(c).
Vidinski has raised legal issues within the scope of the
jurisdiction authorized by 8 U.S.C. § 1252(a)(2)(D). In
considering these issues, we review both the written decision
of the immigration judge and the Board order adopting and
affirming that decision. Surganova v. Holder, 612
F.3d 901, 904 (7th Cir. 2010). We review the Board's
legal conclusions de novo, but we defer to its
factual findings, "reversing the Board only if the
record lacks substantial evidence to support its factual
conclusions." Sayaxing v. INS, 179 F.3d 515,
519 (7th Cir. 1999).
U.S.C. § 1227(a)(1)(A) and 8 U.S.C. §
1182(a)(6)(C)(i), an alien who attempts to procure an
immigration benefit by fraud or material
misrepresentation-including marriage fraud-is subject to
removal. The government must prove marriage fraud with clear
and convincing evidence. Surganova, 612 F.3d at 904;
see generally Woodby v. INS, 385 U.S. 276, 285-86
Vidinski's case, the government relied on the testimony
of an ICE agent who interviewed Ms. Literski as part of an
investigation into an extensive marriage fraud ring in
Chicago. The central figure in the ring was Jeremy
Starnes. A man named Dion Liebich told the ICE agent that
Starnes had helped him arrange his own fraudulent marriage
and that he (Liebich) had referred Ms. Literski to Starnes.
Following that lead, the agent contacted Ms. Literski and
interviewed her in January 2011.
to the agent, Ms. Literski admitted that her marriage to
Vidinski had been fraudulent. She said that Liebich (her
former boyfriend) told her she could make money by entering
into a sham marriage. Liebich arranged a meeting among
Starnes, Ms. Literski, Vidinski, and another man. After that
meeting, Ms. Literski and Vidinski married. Ms. Literski was
paid $1, 000 the day of the marriage, with promises of more
payments to come. She told the agent that Vidinski paid her a
total of more than $5, 000 over the course of the marriage,
but she never lived with him and never had sexual relations
with him. No criminal charges have been filed against Ms.
Literski, Vidinski, or Liebich.
Literski also told the agent that several photographs that
she and Vidinski had submitted to support their 2005
petitions for lawful permanent resident status had been
altered to appear to be pictures of the two of them together.
Ms. Literski signed a sworn statement describing the
fraudulent arrangement. Her statement is consistent with the
agent also testified that he served notices to appear on
Vidinski and a Ms. Tzvetana Stanislavova, who had a child by
Vidinski in 2005 while he was still legally married to Ms.
Literski (and before Ms. Literski filed her 1-130 petition on
his behalf). Vidinski and Ms. Stanislavova are now married.
documentary evidence supported the immigration judge's
finding of marriage fraud. Vidinski submitted his federal and
Illinois individual income tax returns for twelve years, from
1998 to 2009. All indicated that he was single, even though
he was married to Ms. Literski from 2002 to 2009. (The
government submitted a different return for 2005 that listed
Vidinski and Ms. Literski as married, filing jointly, around
the time of their interviews on her 1-130 petition. That
discrepancy has not been ...