TEXAS- A man has been stripped of his citizenship, after lies on his original application were discovered.
Jose Arizmendi, 54, became an American citizen in 1996. The DOJ’s Office of Immigration Litigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas filed a complaint to denaturalize Arizmendi after they discovered he’d neglected to disclose a sexual assault conviction from 1995 , a crime he committed against a nine-year old girl.
Arizmendi is a Mexican native who became a permanent legal U.S. resident in 1990. He was eligible to apply for citizenship in 1996, the year after he committed the sexual assault crime. Arizmendi pleaded guilty to the crime, and was given a deferred sentence.
Placed on a 10-year probation and registered as a sex offender, Arizmendi was obliged to disclose his status on his application the following year.
On Tuesday, a court found that Arizmendi’s deception put him in violation of the law, and that he should not have been granted citizenship by Immigration and Naturalization Service.
His sexual misconduct in 1995 and fraud in 1996 weren’t his only crimes. In 1997, he had contact with a 14-year-old girl, a violation of his probation terms, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He fled to Mexico, possibly to escape that warrant. In 2015, the DOJ initiated the process of revoking his citizenship. Reportedly, at that time Arizmendi was in Mexico’s Centro Readaptacion Social prison, Guerrero, serving an 18-year rape sentence.
The judgment Tuesday revoked Arizmendi’s citizenship, backdated to 1996, obliging him to surrender his naturalization certificate. Arizmendi will not be eligible to re-apply to enter the United States due to his convictions and based on the Immigration and Nationality Act’s requirements.
A Supreme Court decision that was handed down last week, Maslenjak v. United States, in which the Court decided unanimously to uphold laws that revoke U.S. citizenship from people that lie in order to obtain it, may be the basis for the decision in Arizmendi’s case.
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