The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL CONTI, Senior District Judge
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT
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
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, § 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 ...