Following up on the heels of our last post, the Third Circuit of Appeals issued two precedential decisions affirming a denial of US citizenship to two different parties who had acquired their permanent residency through false statements or fraud. The two cases were decided by two different panels but interestingly, arrived at the same conclusion. The two cases are Saliba v. Attorney General and Koszelnik v. Secretary of Homeland Security. Although the facts are different, the gist of both cases is that the immigrants in question secured their green cards by affirmatively providing false information on their permanent resident applications. One party represented that he was a citizen of Lebanon when he wasn't, and the other omitted the fact that he had an A number and had actually been in court proceedings when applying for their green cards. Both gentlemen's lies were not caught at the green card stage and they subsequently applied for naturalization more than five years later. In both cases, the Court denied their petitions, predicating their decisions largely on the notion that even though the applicants were permanent residents, they were nevertheless not "lawfully admitted" as permanent residents, as required by 8 U.S.C. 1429.
In yet another hard-line attempt at mass deportation and control of undocumented immigrants in this country, the Senate Majority recently sought to convert police agencies into immigration agents in 200 American cities by threatening to withhold federal funding if law enforcement did not communicate with ICE. The bill would also have imposed stricter mandatory minimum prison terms for undocumented aliens who reentered the country after certain types of convictions. Fortunately, the support was simply not there. Nevertheless, these types of measures illustrate the disturbing level of fear and intolerance amongst some of our policymakers. The catalyst for the proposed bill was the June death of Kathryn Steinle, a woman who was tragically killed when a bullet ricocheted off a San Francisco pier. The shot was fired by an illegal immigrant, who became a lightning rod for xenophobic ire.