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U.S. v. WANG

October 19, 2005.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL CONTI, Senior District Judge



Plaintiff United States of America ("the Government" or "Plaintiff") filed this action to revoke the naturalization of Defendant Adam Chung-Shiaing Wang ("Defendant"), alleging that his certificate of citizenship was illegally procured. The Government now moves for partial summary judgment as to Counts I and II. For the reasons contained herein, this Court hereby GRANTS Plaintiff's motion as to Counts I and II of the Complaint. Defendant's certificate of citizenship is hereby CANCELLED and the order admitting him to citizenship is REVOKED and SET ASIDE.


  Because this is a motion for summary judgment, the Court will regard the evidence of Defendant, as the non-moving party, as true. Therefore, the following is based on Defendant's submissions to the Court.

  The Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS") approved Defendant's application for citizenship on May 5, 1995. Answer at 2.*fn1 On his application, Defendant answered "No" to a written question regarding whether he had ever been "arrested, cited, charged, indicted, convicted, fined, or imprisoned" for a crime, excluding traffic violations. Defendant's Memorandum in Support of Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment at 2 ("Def's Mem.").*fn2 He orally informed an investigator that he had been fined for theft from a video store. Id. at 2. In fact, Defendant was convicted of grand theft in 1992 and sentenced to one year probation and a $250 fine. Answer at 2. In addition, Defendant was arrested for petty theft in February 1994 for stealing $300 from his employer and sentenced to 10 days in jail, served over 10 consecutive Sundays, and three years probation. Id. at 2. Defendant was on probation when his application was approved. Id. at 3.

  According to Defendant, his INS examiner, Wendy Plane ("Plane"), had noted his criminal offenses during the interview, but did not correct Defendant's form. Def's Mem. at 2. Plane, in a deposition, conceded that it was possible she simply forgot. Def's Mem., Ex. 1 at 23.

  The Government filed a complaint to revoke Defendant's naturalization. In response to the Answer, the Government filed a motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) to strike Defendant's affirmative defenses. The Court granted the motion as to two of the defenses and denied the motion as to one, allowing Defendant the opportunity to use the affirmative defense of estoppel.

  The Government brings this motion for partial summary judgment on Counts I and II of the Complaint. In Count I, the Government alleges that Defendant, because of his criminal history, was not possessed of good character, and was therefore ineligible for naturalization. In Count II, the Government alleges that Defendant, because he was on parole when he applied for citizenship, was ineligible to be naturalized. The Government contends that because of these facts the Defendant's citizenship was illegally procured.


  Summary judgment is appropriate only "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A genuine issue of fact exists when the non-moving party produces evidence on which a reasonable trier of fact could find in its favor viewing the record as a whole in light of the evidentiary burden the law places on that party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252-56 (1986). Summary judgment is therefore appropriate against a party "who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to the party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23. The more implausible the claim or defense asserted by the opposing party, the more persuasive its evidence must be to avoid summary judgment, see Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986), but "[t]he evidence of the non-moving party is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in its favor." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.


  Plaintiff contends that Defendant was ineligible to receive citizenship because he was not of good moral character and was on probation when he applied for citizenship. Defendant contends that the Government is estopped from revoking his citizenship. Specifically, Defendant contends that he "relied upon the approval, and more than nine years elapsed when he first learned that his citizenship must be revoked." Def's Mem. at 4.

  The Constitution directly grants Congress legislative authority over matters of naturalization. U.S. CONST. art. I, ยง 8, cl. 4. The authority of the Federal Courts over these matters is tightly tethered by congressional statutes. The United States Supreme Court puts it thus:
An alien who seeks political rights as a member of this Nation can rightfully obtain them only upon the terms and conditions specified by Congress. Courts are without authority to sanction changes or modifications; their duty is rigidly to ...

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