According to the renowned Pakistani-American lawyer, humanitarian, TV anchor, writer, film producer and an expert in United States immigration, Mr. Shah Peerally, his client who is a Middle Eastern immigrant came to the United States in 2009 on a valid K1 fiancée visa and applied for her adjustment of status (form I-485). She got married to her compatriot [an American citizen] in compliance to the Islamic law with a gift in cash, known as “The Mahr [dowry]” settled upon her as the wife.

Later on in 2009, the lady was placed in removal proceedings (aka deportation) because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was convinced that she entered in a sham marriage to obtain immigration benefits. Client i.e. the husband of the lady was scheduled for a fraud marriage interview in the same year and the officer decided that the marriage was not bona fide, that is, entered solely to get immigration benefits.

At the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office, Beneficiary [lady] was unable to explain that in the Islamic traditions, the male spouse is supposed to give a sum of money to the female spouse as part of the marriage ceremony. This amount is known as the “Mahr” and without this money a marriage is not sealed under Islamic law. During the interview the adjudicating officer was over-aggressive figuratively ‘attacking’ the US citizen for actually entering in what the immigration officer believed to be a ‘sham marriage.’ During the interview the officer pressured the US citizen to admit that he was actually paid to marry the Beneficiary [lady].

The mahr [dowry] is something that is paid by the man to his wife as per Quranic injunction. It is paid to the wife and to her only as an honor and a respect given to her and to show that he has a serious desire to marry her and is not simply entering into the marriage contract without any sense of responsibility and obligation or effort on his part. Proof that the Mahr is Obligatory can be obtained from the Holy Qur’an, Allah says: “And give the women their dowries with a good heart…” [Noble Quran 4:4]

Shah actually argued this case in court and during the master calendar hearing told the judge that the marriage was still viable and ongoing between the two parties and request the judge to allow him to file a form I-130 (Alien Relative Petition) on behalf of Beneficiary. After almost seven years of hearings, the judge ultimately agreed with attorney Shah Peerally and granted permission to prove her case and terminated the case in immigration court. In March 2016, Beneficiary was granted her permanent residence and will now hopefully be able to live a normal life.

California [USA] based Shah Peerally Law Group finally celebrated much awaited victory on a K 1 Visa and Marriage Petition. This case is a good example of an abuse of discretion, wrongful denial and wrong understanding of cultures. It is also one of the many cases Shah Peerally and his team is proud of winning. Had Shah not tried this approach Beneficiary would have still be stuck in immigration where the hearing was scheduled for 2019.