United States District Court, D. Minnesota
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND ORDER OF JUDGMENT
PAUL A. MAGNUSON, District Judge.
1. This matter is before the Court on Farok Abdulmajid Hamod's and Orwa Ali Al-Saadoon's requests for de novo review of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services' denials of their naturalization applications. For the reasons that follow, the Court affirms the denials.
FINDINGS OF FACT
2. Hamod and Al-Saadoon are natives and citizens of Iraq. (Govt. Ex. 33.) They are also married and have six children. (Govt. Ex. 32.)
3. Hamod is an accomplished and respected Sheikh and Islamic scholar. He serves the community by, among other things, leading religious ceremonies, offering spiritual counseling, and publishing academic works.
4. Al-Saadoon is a caring mother and wife.
5. On August 11, 1998, Al-Amal School filed an I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker on Hamod's behalf. (Govt. Ex. 2.) Al-Amal School sought to have Hamod provide it with religious worker services on a temporary basis. (Id.)
6. On September 15, 1998, Immigration and Naturalization Services, the predecessor to USCIS, granted the petition and approved a nonimmigrant visa for Hamod that was valid from September 14, 1998 to September 5, 2001. (Govt. Ex. 2.)
7. On June 23, 1999, Hamod entered the United States as a nonimmigrant religious worker. (Govt. Ex. 5.)
8. On August 6, 1999, Al-Amal School filed an I-360 Petition for Special Immigrant Religious Worker on Hamod's behalf. (Govt. Ex. 3.) Al-Amal School sought to have Hamod provide it with religious worker services on a permanent basis. (Id.)
9. On December 29, 1999, INS denied the petition because Al-Amal School failed to establish that it was a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and was therefore not an organization qualified to file a visa petition for a religious worker. (Govt. Ex. 4, at 3.)
10. On August 2, 2000, the Islamic Cultural Community Center filed an I-360 Petition for Special Immigrant Religious Worker on Hamod's behalf. (Govt. Ex. 5.) The ICCC sought to have Hamod serve as its Imam on a permanent basis. (Govt. Ex. 8, at 1.)
11. In support of the petition, counsel for the ICCC submitted a letter dated September 26, 2000, which enclosed a letter from the ICCC stating that Hamod had "been working [there] in a religious capacity since he arrived in Minnesota in 1999." (Govt. Ex. 6.) Specifically, the enclosed letter from the ICCC, dated "Minneapolis [sic] 26, 2000, " states: "[Hamod] has been helping the ICCC in various capacities. Since his arrival in the Twin Cities, [Hamod] has been... leading prayers... giving weekly lectures... advising and counseling... conducting marriage ceremonies... [and] holding seminars...." (Govt. Ex. 8, at 2-3.) The letter further states: "We are also thankful to Al-Amal School for allowing [Hamod] provide his needed services to the ICCC and the Muslim community." (Id. at 3.)
12. Hamod himself submitted a letter in support of the petition, also dated "Minneapolis [sic] 26, 2000, " in which he wrote: "When I arrived in American in 6/24/1999, I devoted many of my efforts to serve the Muslim community in Minnesota. In fact, since my arrival I lead Muslims in their daily prayers at various Mosques. I also deliver Islamic lectures [and] participated, by invitation, in social and religious activities with Muslims in Detroit, Chicago, and Los Angeles." (Govt. Ex. 7, ¶ 9.)
13. Finally, Al-Amal School submitted a letter, dated September 25, 2000, in support of the petition. (Govt. Ex. 9.) The letter states: "Al-Amal School initially employed [Hamod] as a religious teacher in June 1999 pursuant to an R-1 visa. He later became the Religious Curriculum Director at the school." (Id.) The letter goes on to describe Hamod's duties at Al-Amal School. (Id.) Those duties are different than the duties the ICCC and Hamod detailed in their letters dated "Minneapolis [sic] 26, 2000." (Govt. Exs. 7-9.)
14. On December 8, 2000, INS granted the petition and approved an immigrant visa for Hamod. (Govt. Ex. 5.)
15. On June 20, 2001, Hamod filed an I-485 Application to Adjust Status based on his immigrant visa. (Govt. Ex. 10.) On June 21, 2001, Al-Saadoon, being Hamod's wife, also filed an I-485 Application to Adjust Status as a derivative beneficiary of Hamod's immigrant visa. (Govt. Ex. 34.) They sought to become lawful permanent residents. (Id.)
16. In support of the applications, the ICCC submitted a letter dated June 20, 2001. (Govt. Ex. 11.) The letter states that the ICCC "offered Dr. Hamod a permanent employment in the position of Imam at a salary of no less than $54, 000 per year." (Id.) The letter further describes Hamod's duties at the ICCC, which were substantially similar to the duties described in the ICCC's letter dated "Minneapolis [sic] 26, 2000." (Govt. Exs. 8, 11.)
17. On August 21, 2002, INS granted the applications, and Hamod and Al-Saadoon then adjusted to permanent residence ...