Al-Saka v. Sessions, No. 17-3951 (6th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
A Lebanese citizen, Al-Saka married Hashem, a U.S. citizen, in Beirut in 1999. He entered the U.S. in 2001 as a conditional permanent resident based on his marriage to Hashem continuing for at least two years. Just weeks later, the couple signed a religious divorce. In August 2001, the Lebanese government granted a legal divorce. Two months later, Michigan annulled the marriage at Hashem’s request after finding that “there had been no marital cohabitation.” In 2003, Al-Saka married another woman in Lebanon and took steps to remove the permanent-residence condition. Because he had divorced Hashem, he could not file a joint petition with her, as the law requires, 8 U.S.C. 1186a(c)–(d). He instead claimed that deportation would cause hardship and that he married Hashem in good faith. An UJ found that Al-Saka and Hashem did not marry in good faith, and refused to waive the joint-petition requirement. She rejected his hardship claim on the ground that his family remained in Lebanon. The BIA affirmed. The Sixth Circuit denied Al-Saka’s petition for relief, noting substantial evidence that his first marriage was not in good faith and rejecting a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.