United States v. Arango

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Immigration
  • Date Filed: 01-12-2012
  • Case #: 10-15821
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Judge Wardlaw for the Court; Circuit Judges Bybee and M. Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

For purposes of venue under 8 U.S.C. § 1451, there is “a rebuttable presumption that an incarcerated individual retains residence in the judicial district where he lived prior to incarceration.”

The United States brought a civil action in Arizona “to revoke Fernando Arango’s citizenship pursuant to Section 340 of the Immigration and Nationality Act ("INA"), 8 U.S.C. § 1451.” Arango first came the U.S. as a Long Term Resident ("LTR") under a fraudulent marriage. After cooperating in an investigation of the fraudulent marriage organization, Arango was naturalized and later worked for U.S. Customs in Arizona. In 2005, Arango was arrested on federal drug charges and pled guilty. Since that time, Arango has been incarcerated in California. In 2009, the current action was filed on the basis that (1) Arango obtained his citizenship unlawfully because of the fraudulent marriage and (2) that he failed to disclose material facts about the fraudulent marriage during the naturalization process. The district court (1) held that venue was proper in Arizona because Arango did not intend to stay in California and (2) granted summary judgment for the U.S. on revocation of citizenship. Arango appealed and the Ninth Circuit reviewed both issues de novo. The Court noted that venue was determined by residence and that for the purposes of the denaturalization statute, the lower court needed to determine whether California had become Arango’s “principle, actual dwelling place” based on factors such as family ties, length of incarceration, and other relevant factors. The Court also noted that summary judgment for denaturalization requires “clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence,” and that Arango had introduced non-trivial evidence that contradicted the Government’s claims. The Ninth Circuit held first that, for venue purposes under the statute, there is a “rebuttable presumption that an incarcerated individual retains residence in the judicial district where he lived prior to incarceration.” The Ninth Circuit also held summary judgment was improper because the lower court erred in weighing the evidence in favor of the government. REVERSED in part, VACATED in part, and REMANDED.

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