Seanlim Yith v. Melissa Maxim

NOT FOR PUBLICATION FILED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FEB 2 2023 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT SEANLIM YITH; SEAK LEANG YITH, No. 22-15154 Plaintiffs-Appellants, D.C. No. 1:14-cv-01875-DAD-SKO v. MELISSA MAXIM, in her Capacity as MEMORANDUM* District Director U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; et al., Defendants-Appellees. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California Dale A. Drozd, District Judge, Presiding Argued and Submitted January 25, 2023 San Francisco, California Before: GOULD, RAWLINSON, and BRESS, Circuit Judges. Plaintiffs-Appellants and siblings Seanlim and Seak Leang Yith (“the Yiths”) immigrated to the United States from Cambodia when minors. The Yiths’ entry was based on their father’s marriage to a United States citizen, Sarin Meas. The district court found that the Yiths’ father’s marriage to Meas was not valid for * This disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by Ninth Circuit Rule 36-3. immigration purposes and held that the Yiths did not meet their burden of establishing that they were lawfully admitted as permanent residents of the United States. Because the parties are familiar with the facts, we will not expand on them here in further detail. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and we affirm. We review the district court’s factual findings, including whether a marriage is bona fide, for clear error. See In re Grand Jury Proceedings, 777 F.2d 508, 509 (9th Cir. 1985) (per curiam); see also Smolniakova v. Gonzales, 422 F.3d 1037, 1044 (9th Cir. 2005). Other issues in the case are reviewed for abuse of discretion: (1) whether the witness, Sarin Meas, was unavailable within the meaning of Federal Rule of Evidence 804, see United States v. Yida, 498 F.3d 945, 952 (9th Cir. 2007); (2) whether the district court erred by admitting Sarin Meas’s statements, United States v. Magana-Olvera, 917 F.2d 401, 407 (9th Cir. 1990); (3) whether the district court erred by allowing or excluding evidence based on hearsay, Calmat Co. v. U.S. Dep’t Lab., 364 F.3d 1117, 1122 (9th Cir. 2004); (4) whether the district court erred in controlling questioning at trial, United States v. Archdale, 229 F.3d 861, 865 (9th Cir. 2000); and (5) whether the district court erred by denying the Yiths’ motions in limine, United States v. Alvirez, 831 F.3d 1115, 1120 (9th Cir. 2016). 1. The district court applied the correct legal standard for marriage-based permanent residency. “There is no set formula to be applied in determining 2 whether a marriage was entered into in good faith.” Damon v. Ashcroft, 360 F.3d 1084, 1089 (9th Cir. 2004). The “central question” is whether, at the time of marriage, the parties intended to establish a life together. Id. at 1088. The party seeking to rely on the marriage bears the burden of presenting “objective evidence” of an intent to establish a life together. See id. at 1089. Appellants contend that the district court misapplied the standard by interjecting its own judgment into the …

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