Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Brown

United States District Court, D. Arizona

October 28, 2019

United States of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Muriel Iris Brown, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Douglas L. Rayes United States District Judge

         At issue is Plaintiff United States of America's (“Government”) motion for judgment on the pleadings, which is fully briefed. (Docs. 29, 33, 34.) Also before the Court is the Government's motion to strike Defendant Muriel Iris Brown's affirmative defenses (Doc. 27), to which Defendant did not respond. For the following reasons, the Government's motion for judgment on the pleadings is granted, and its motion to strike Defendant's affirmative defenses is granted pursuant to LRCiv 7.2(i).[1]

         I. Background

         The following facts have been alleged by the Government and admitted by Defendant in her answer.

         Defendant has used at least two aliases to enter the United States: “Claudia Theodora Abisodu Fisher” and “Muriel Iris Brown.” In 1995, the Government issued an order of removal of Defendant. She departed the United States sometime between 1995 and 1998. At that time, she went by the Fisher name.

         In January 1998, Defendant applied for refugee status using the Brown name. Her application was approved and Defendant was admitted to the United States as a refugee in June 1998. In December 1999, Defendant applied for adjustment to lawful permanent resident (“LPR”) status. Defendant received LPR status in February 2001 and was naturalized in May 2004. However, when applying to become a refugee, LPR, and citizen, Defendant did not disclose her Fisher alias, alternative alien registration number, or previous order of removal.

         The Government filed this action in 2018. In Count II of its amended complaint, the Government alleges that Defendant unlawfully procured her citizenship because she was not eligible for adjustment to LPR status-a prerequisite to naturalization. Based on Defendant's admissions in her answer, the Government now moves for judgment in its favor on Count II pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c).

         II. Legal Standard[2]

         A motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) “is properly granted when, taking all the allegations in the non-moving party's pleadings as true, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fajardo v. Cty. of L.A., 179 F.3d 698, 699 (9th Cir. 1999). Either party may move for judgment on the pleadings. Qwest Communications Corp. v. City of Berkeley, 208 F.R.D. 288, 291 (N.D. Cal. 2002). “A plaintiff may move for judgment on the pleadings if the answer fails to controvert material facts alleged in the complaint.” Id. Accordingly, when ruling on a motion for judgment on the pleadings filed by a plaintiff, “[u]ncontested allegations to which the other party had an opportunity to respond are taken as true.” Id.

         III. Discussion

         “Under 8 U.S.C. § 1451(a), the government may file a complaint to revoke naturalization if a citizen's naturalization was ‘illegally procured[.]'” United States v. Teng Jiao Zhou, 815 F.3d 639, 642 (9th Cir. 2016). “Naturalization was ‘illegally procured' if the individual did not meet the statutory requirements for citizenship.” Id. at 643 (citing Fedorenko v. United States, 449 U.S. 490, 506 (1981); United States v. Dang, 488 F.3d 1135, 1139 (9th Cir. 2007)). Because loss of citizenship “can have severe and unsettling consequences, ” “[t]he evidence justifying revocation of citizenship must be clear, unequivocal, and convincing and not leave the issue in doubt.” Fedorenko, 449 U.S. at 505 (citation omitted). “If the government meets it high burden, however, a court must enter a judgment of denaturalization-it lacks any discretion to do otherwise.” Teng Jiao Zhou, 815 F.3d at 642.

         In Count II of the amended complaint, the Government alleges (1) Defendant's departure from the United States pursuant to an order of deportation rendered her inadmissible for a period of ten years, (2) as a result, Defendant could not have lawfully adjusted to LPR status in 2001, and (3) Defendant therefore was and is ineligible for naturalization. A straightforward application of the law to the facts alleged in the complaint and admitted in the answer compels this result.

         One requirement for citizenship is that an applicant must first have been lawfully admitted to the United States as an LPR. 8 U.S.C. §§ 1427(a)(1), 1429. “The term ‘lawfully' denotes compliance with substantive legal requirements, not mere procedural regularity.” Kyong Ho Shin v. Holder, 607 F.3d 1213, 1217 (9th Cir. 2010) (citation omitted). Thus, even an alien who obtained LPR status through a “negligent mistake made by the government” will be deemed not lawfully admitted if she did not substantively comply with all requirements. Savoury v. United States Att'y Gen., 449 F.3d 1307, 1317 (11th Cir. 2006); see Kyong Ho Shin, 607 F.3d at 1217 (“[A]ll grants of LPR status that were not in substantive compliance with the immigration laws [are] void ab initio.”). A refugee seeking to adjust to LPR status must demonstrate admissibility as an immigrant. 8 U.S.C. § 1159. An alien who has departed the United States under an order of removal and who later seeks admission is inadmissible within ten years of her departure. 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(9)(A)(ii)(II).

         It is undisputed that Defendant departed the United States sometime between late 1995 and January 1998 while under an order of removal.[3] Defendant reentered the United States as a refugee in January 1998, sought adjustment to LPR status in 1999, and obtained LPR status in 2001-all before the expiration of the ten-year bar on admission. Hence, ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.