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Lora v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

April 18, 2007

DOMINGO LORA, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John Gleeson, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Petitioner Domingo Lora, a lawful permanent resident, challenges the denial of his naturalization application by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Lora's application was denied on the ground that he had not established that he is a person of good moral character, as required by 8 U.S.C. § 1427(a)(3). Pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1421(c), Lora seeks this Court's de novo review of his application for naturalization. On March 29, 2007, after an evidentiary hearing, I entered an order stating that the petition was granted and that this opinion setting forth the reasons for that decision would follow.

FACTS

A. Lora's Immigration History and Current Circumstances

Lora was born on March 24, 1972, in the Dominican Republic. He entered the United States lawfully in 1988. He has never left the United States since that time. Lora is not married; however, he has lived together for 10 years with Ana Pichardo, who Lora describes as his "future wife," and their 8-year-old daughter Destiny. Lora is an electrician, a member of Local 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. He resides with Pichardo and Destiny at 7905 60th Street, Glendale, New York, a home Lora purchased in 2000.

Lora is a hard-working individual. By refinancing the home he lives in, he purchased an investment property at 80-23 57th Street in Glendale. The testimony at the hearing referenced a second piece of investment property as well.

Lora has engaged in charitable work in his community. In particular, he has performed electrical work for two churches. He has performed the work himself, and he purchased the materials needed to complete the work.

Lora supports his future wife and child. Despite his somewhat rocky childhood and a minor property conviction as a young adult, both of which are discussed further below, he has become, at age 35, a hardworking and respected member of his community.

B. Lora's Criminal History

1. His Drug Conviction at Age 17

When Lora was in high school he had a part-time position in a grocery store in Manhattan. Others in the store were drug dealers. On approximately five occasions, Lora took money from customers and placed it into the cash register, knowing that the money was being paid for drugs supplied by others in the store. This conduct resulted in a criminal charge against Lora (who provided the name "Alfredo Santos," a family name he used as an alias) alleging that on two occasions in March of 1990, he sold cocaine from the store in concert with others. Lora pled guilty to those charges and on November 8, 1990, he was adjudicated as a youthful offender and sentenced to time served and five years probation. Lora was told by his lawyer that his plea of guilty to the two charges specified in the indictment, see Exhibit P, satisfied his criminal exposure for all of the approximately five occasions on which Lora assisted in the sale of cocaine from the store.

2. Shoplifting Conviction

In 1997, Lora went to a Sears store on Long Island with a friend. Acting together, the two of them shoplifted approximately $313.00 worth of clothing. On March 19, 1997, Lora pled guilty to one count of attempted petit larceny, and he was subsequently sentenced to a conditional discharge of one year and a fine ...


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