DOJ Files Civil Denaturalization Charges Against Three Individuals

Written by Alexander J. Segal on

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On September 19, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published a press release titled “United States Files Denaturalization Complaints in Florida, Connecticut and New Jersey Against Three Individuals Who Fraudulently Naturalized After Having Been Ordered Deported Under Different Identities” [PDF version].

All three cases in the press release concern individuals who are alleged to have procured naturalization by concealing that they had previously been deported under different identities. The DOJ explains that the cases were referred to it by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as a part of “Operation Janus.” Operation Janus was a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) initiative that “identified about 315,000 cases which some fingerprint data was missing from the centralized fingerprint repository.” The DOJ states that some of the cases examined by Operation Janus may represent individuals who “have sought to circumvent criminal record and other background checks in the naturalization process.” The DOJ stated that it has been collaborating with the DHS to investigate cases of possible naturalization fraud and to initiate denaturalization proceedings where there is sufficient evidence to do so.

Denaturalization

In each of the three cases, the DOJ is seeking civil denaturalization under section 341(a) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). The DOJ states that the civil complaints, which we have included with the article, contain the following charges:

  • Illegal procurement of naturalization by not being lawfully admitted for permanent residence (fraud or willful misrepresentation);
  • Illegal procurement of naturalization due to lack of good moral character (false testimony); and
  • Illegal procurement of U.S. citizenship (concealment of a material fact or willful misrepresentation; false testimony).

The following is the summary of the DOJ's complaint in each of the three cases. It is important to note that none of these civil denaturalization cases have been fully adjudicated and that each of the three individuals will have the opportunity to endeavor to rebut the charges before a Federal judge.

Parvez Manzoor Khan

Parvez Manzoor Khan, a native of Pakistan, arrived in the United States on December 7, 1991. At the time, he was bearing a Pakistani passport in the name of Mohammad Akhtar. Immigration officials determined that the photo on the passport had been altered. Khan applied for asylum, claiming that his actual name was “Jaweed Khan.” However, he subsequently failed to appear for a hearing in Immigration Court and on February 26, 1992, he was ordered excluded and deported from the United States. Khan failed to surrender for deportation. Instead, he married a U.S. citizen and, under the name Parvez Manzoor Khan, procured lawful permanent resident status in 2001 based on a petition filed by his U.S. citizen spouse. He was naturalized on July 3, 2006.

The case is titled United States of America v. Parvez Manzoor Khan (M.D. Fla.). We have uploaded the Complaint and Affidavit of Good Cause for your convenience [PDF version].

Rashid Mahmood

Rashid Mahmood, a native of Pakistan, arrived in the United States on July 9, 1992. He presented a fraudulent U.S. temporary resident card while claiming that his name was Rashid Mehmood. Mahmood was charged as excludable under the immigration laws in effect at the time. He failed to appear for his hearing and was accordingly ordered excluded and deported that October. In 1995, Mahmood filed for adjustment of status based on his marriage to a U.S. citizen under the name Mahmood instead of Mehmood. Mahmood was naturalized under the name “Mahmood” in 2005. The DOJ alleges that, in addition to lying about his identity, Mahmood also lied in that he failured to disclose on his naturalization form that he had claimed that he was a member of the Pakistan People's Party when he sought entry in 1992.

The case is titled United States of America v. Rashid Mahmood (D. Conn.). We have uploaded the Complaint and Affidavit of Good Cause for your convenience [PDF version].

Baljinder Singh

Baljinder Singh, a native of India, arrived in the United States on September 25, 1991. He had no travel documents or proof of identity. Upon arrival, he claimed that his name was Davinder Singh. Like the previous two individuals, he was charged as excludable, failed to appear in immigration court, and was ordered excluded and deported on January 7, 1992. Four weeks after Singh was ordered excluded and deported, he filed for asylum under the name Baljinder Singh. In his asylum application, he claimed to be an Indian who entered the United States without inspection. However, Singh would abandon his asylum application after his U.S. citizen wife, whom he had married after filing for asylum, filed an immigrant visa petition on his behalf under the name Baljinder Singh. Singh was naturalized in 2006.

The case is titled United States of America v. Baljinder Singh (D.N.J.). We have uploaded the Complaint and Affidavit of Good Cause for your convenience [PDF version].

Conclusion

These three civil denaturalization cases are the result of a DOJ/DHS initiative to review cases where certain fingerprints are missing or inconsistent. It should go without saying that lying about one's identity in order to procure benefits under the immigration laws or against any laws is a serious offense, and one that is likely to be discovered in the application process. It will be worth following these cases involving the use of multiple identities going forward to see how they are ultimately resolved.