U.S. v. Amintobia

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 01-11-2023
  • Case #: 20-50039
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Collin, J. for the Court; Gould, J.; Berzon, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

"In a case in which the illegal act by which a defendant procured naturalization was “a false statement made to government officials, the Government must prove, inter alia, that the alleged false statement sufficiently altered the processes for investigating and adjudicating naturalization applications “as to have influenced an award of citizenship.” Maslenjak v. United States, 137 S. Ct. 1918, 1928 (2017).

Petitioner was indicted for attempting to procure naturalization unlawfully, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1425(a), and presenting a naturalization application with false statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1546(a).  At trial, the government contended that Petitioner had lied on his asylum application as Petitioner was safely residing in Germany during the time that Petitioner was supposedly being persecuted in Iraq as stated in his asylum application. Petitioner appealed his conviction, arguing that the government failed to establish that the lies made in his naturalization application were material. The Court affirmed the district court’s decision, holding that the government presented sufficient evidence to establish that Petitioner’s false answers in his naturalization application were material to his naturalization. The Court reasoned that based on the evidence provided, a rational jury could find that a reasonable immigration judge knowing the facts about Petitioner’s presence in Germany would have found him not credible and would have denied asylum. The Court further reasoned that since Petitioner would have been ineligible for asylum, the false statements made subsequently on his naturalization application are material to the naturalization decision under the investigative based theory. Therefore, the government had established with evidence that Petitioner's false statements on the application were material.

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