United States District Court, N.D. California
For Sameh Hussein, Plaintiff: Kip Evan Steinberg, Law Office of Kip Evan Steinberg, San Rafael, CA.
For Robin Barrett, San Francisco Field Office Director, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Defendants: Regan Hildebrand, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Immigration Litigation, District Court Section, Washington, DC; Christopher Westley Dempsey, United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, OIL-DCS, Washington, DC.
JON S. TIGAR, United
States District Judge.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Before the Court is Petitioner Sameh Hussein's petition seeking de novo review of the denial of his application for naturalization filed November 2, 2011, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1421(c). The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (" USCIS" ) denied Petitioner's application for naturalization on December 9, 2010, for failure to satisfy the Immigration and Naturalization Act's (" INA" ) " good moral character" requirement, based on an allegation of tax fraud. Petitioner's administrative appeal was subsequently denied on the same basis. After Petitioner filed for review of that decision in this Court, USCIS stipulated to withdraw its allegation of tax fraud as a basis for denial of Petitioner's application, but indicated its intent to continue to oppose Petitioner's application for naturalization on the grounds of false testimony given during the application process. The Court held a bench trial on December 2, 2013. Having carefully considered the parties' exhibits, testimony, trial briefs, post-trial briefs, and controlling legal authorities, the Court will deny the petition.
I. LEGAL STANDARDS
District courts are authorized to review denials of applications for naturalization after a hearing before an immigration officer. " Such review shall be de novo, and the court shall make its own findings of fact and conclusions of law and shall, at the request of the petitioner, conduct a hearing de novo on the application." 8 U.S.C. § 1421(c). The district court " does not defer to any of the INS' findings or conclusions." United States v. Hovsepian (" Hovsepian I" ), 359 F.3d 1144, 1162 (9th Cir. 2004).
The applicant bears the burden of establishing each of the statutory requirements for naturalization. 8 C.F.R. § 316.2(b). Among the requirements applicants for naturalization must meet is the requirement that, for the five years preceding the filing of the application, the applicant " has been and still is a person of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States." 8 U.S.C. § 1427(a)(3). The INA does not define the term " good moral character." Hovespian I, 359 F.3d at 1166. However, the INA does enumerate nine non-exclusive characteristics that preclude a finding of good moral character, including the giving of " false testimony for the purpose of obtaining any benefits under" the INA. 8 U.S.C. § 1101(f)(6).
Kungys v. United
States, 485 U.S. 759, 780, 108 S.Ct. 1537, 99 L.Ed.2d 839 (1988). The bar on false testimony applies to misrepresentations " 'made with the subjective intent of obtaining immigration benefits,' whether or not the misrepresentation is material to the immigration decision." United States v. Hovsepian (" Hovsepian II" ), 422 F.3d 883, 887 (9th Cir. 2005) (quoting Kungys, 485 U.S. at 779). " Whether a person has the subjective ...