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News Posted on August 11, 2017

Edwin Steussy ’14 Wins Pro Bono Immigration Case

Edwin Steussy ’14 was part of the legal team that won a pro bono case that has significant implications for the rights of immigrants who come into the United States as a result of arranged marriages.

When such immigrants, typically women, come to the U.S., the federal government requires the person they are marrying to sign Form I-864, which requires the person with immigration status to provide financial support for their spouse for a period of 10 years, regardless of whether they remain married. Unfortunately, in some cases, courts decline to enforce the Form I-864 as part of divorce proceedings, with the result that some immigrant women feel that have little alternative but to stay in abusive relationships.

In In re: Marriage of Kumar, the California Court of Appeal for the First District considered the case of a an alleged victim of domestic abuse whose marriage had been annulled and whose Form I-864 support had been canceled by a lower court on the grounds that she had not made adequate efforts to seek work.  The Court of Appeal reversed that decision, finding an immigrant spouse has standing to enforce a support obligation created by an I-864 commitment in state court—a significant victory for abused immigrant spouses.