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Paul v. Johnson

United States District Court, N.D. New York

June 5, 2014

GURMAIL SINGH PAUL, Petitioner,
v.
JEH JOHNSON, Secretary of Homeland Security, [1] Respondent.

FREDERICK P. KORKOSZ, ESQ., Office of Frederick P. Korkosz, Albany, NY, for Petitioner.

TROY D. LIGGETT, ESQ., STUART F. DELERY, Acting Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Immigration Litigation, Washington, DC, for the Respondent.

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

GARY L. SHARPE, Chief Magistrate Judge.

I. Introduction

On May 16, 2012, petitioner Gurmail Singh Paul filed a petition for a de novo review, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1421, of the denial by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of his application for naturalization. (Pet., Dkt. No. 1.) Pending before the court is respondent Jeh Johnson's motion for summary judgment, seeking denial of Paul's petition or, in the alternative, an evidentiary hearing in accordance with 8 U.S.C. § 1421(c). (Dkt. No. 17.) For the reasons that follow, the government's motion is granted and Paul's petition is dismissed.

II. Background[2]

Paul is a native and citizen of India, who is currently a lawful permanent resident of the United States. (Resp.'s Statement of Material Facts (SMF) ¶¶ 1, 11, Dkt. No. 17, Attach. 3.) He first entered the United States on November 21, 1980. ( Id. ¶ 2.) Paul's initial entry in 1980 was without inspection, and he was subsequently detained by border patrol officers. ( Id. ) Paul requested, and was granted, voluntary departure by an immigration judge. ( Id. ¶¶ 2-4.) At some point, Paul did depart the United States, but he returned again a short time later, again entering without inspection. ( Id. ¶¶ 4-5.) Ultimately, Paul's mother filed a Petition for Alien Relative on his behalf, which was approved. ( Id. ¶ 8.) He filed a subsequent application for adjustment of status, and was granted status as a lawful permanent resident, a status he has maintained since 1986. ( Id. ¶¶ 10-11.) In 1999, Paul filed his first application for naturalization, which was denied on the grounds that his prior criminal convictions demonstrated a lack of good moral character. ( Id. ¶ 15; Dkt. No. 17, Attach. 8 at 2-4.)

Paul has had a long history of legal troubles since the time he entered the United States. In 1983, Paul was arrested and charged with assault, petit larceny, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct, ultimately resulting in a conviction of disorderly conduct and payment of a $150 fine.[3] (Dkt. No. 17, Attach. 5 at 29, 33, 36.) In 1984, Paul was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI). ( Id. at 41.) He ultimately pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving while ability impaired (DWAI), and paid a $250 fine. ( Id. ) In 1985, Paul was again arrested and charged with DWI. (Dkt. No. 17, Attach. 8 at 35.) In connection with those charges, Paul pleaded guilty to DWAI-for which he paid a $250 fine-and failure to obey a police officer-for which he paid a $100 fine. ( Id. at 35-36.) In 1986, Paul was once again charged with DWI, as well as unlicensed operation of a vehicle and criminal impersonation. (Dkt. No. 17, Attach. 6 at 29.) He pleaded guilty to the DWI and unlicensed operation charges, in satisfaction of all charges, and was sentenced to a total of $850 in fines and a one-year revocation of his license. ( Id. ) In 1990, Paul was charged with DWI and reckless endangerment, ultimately pleading guilty to DWI and receiving a sentence of five years probation with a $1, 000 fine. ( Id. at 31.) In 1998, Paul was charged with attempted sodomy, sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child. (Dkt. No. 17, Attach. 8 at 30-31.) While the attempted sodomy charge was dismissed, Paul pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child, in satisfaction of the remaining charges, and was ordered to serve three years probation. ( Id. )

Finally, in June 2008, Paul was arrested and charged with DWI, resisting arrest, leaving the scene of property damage, and failing to stop at a stop sign. ( Id. at 6.) He ultimately pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of DWAI, in satisfaction of the remaining charges, and was fined $500. ( Id. at 6, 28-29.)

On November 30, 2009, Paul filed a second application for naturalization with USCIS. (Dkt. No. 1 at 12.) USCIS again denied Paul's naturalization application because he had not established his good moral character during the statutory period. ( Id. at 10-15.) Paul filed an administrative appeal and requested a hearing before USCIS, and a hearing was conducted on November 17, 2011. (Dkt. No. 17, Attach. 9 at 9, 11-13.) On April 26, 2012, USCIS affirmed the denial of Paul's naturalization application, ( id. at 2, 25-30; Dkt. No. 1 at 9), and Paul subsequently filed his petition for review by the district court on May 16, 2012, ( see generally Pet.).

III. Standards of Review

A. Review Pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1421

Title 8 of the United States Code, Section 1421(c) provides that "[a] person whose application for naturalization under this subchapter is denied... may seek review of such denial before the United States district court.... Such review shall be de novo, and the court shall make its own findings of fact and conclusions of law and ...


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