In the Matter of M.

3 I. & N. Dec. 850 (1950)

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In the Matter of M.

Board of Immigration Appeals
3 I. & N. Dec. 850 (1950)

  • Written by Sharon Feldman, JD

Facts

B.C.M.M. (plaintiff) was born in Czechoslovakia in November 1929. B.C.M.M.’s parents were Czechoslovakian citizens who were married in 1927. Nazi Germany annexed western Czechoslovakia in 1938 and renamed the area Sudetenland. In 1940, B.C.M.M.’s mother obtained a decree annulling her marriage based on her discovery that B.C.M.M.’s father was Jewish. The action was brought under § 37 of the German Marriage Act (GMA), which provided for contesting a marriage on the ground of a mistake relating to the person of the other spouse. There was no statutory grant of custody. B.C.M.M.’s father emigrated to the United States in 1941, was naturalized in 1946, and agreed to assume custody of B.C.M.M. B.C.M.M. was admitted to the US for permanent residence on August 25, 1947. B.C.M.M. applied for citizenship under § 314(c) of the Nationality Act of 1940, which made a child born of alien parents outside the US a citizen if the parents were legally separated, the parent having legal custody of the child was naturalized, and the child began to reside permanently in the US while under 18. To assist in determining whether B.C.M.M.’s parents were legally separated, B.C.M.M. was a legitimate child, and B.C.M.M.’s father had legal custody, the Library of Congress’s law librarian provided the following information: (1) under a December 1938 German decree, beginning January 1, 1939, marriage and divorce in the Sudetenland were governed by existing laws and parts of the GMA, including the 1935 Nuremberg Laws prohibiting marriages between Jews and Reich subjects of German blood; (2) if a ground for invalidating a marriage under existing law was identical to a ground justifying dissolution under the GMA, the 1938 decree applied; (3) under both existing law and the GMA, a marriage could be contested based on a mistake relating to the person of the other spouse; (4) under the GMA, a mistake was a reason for a dissolution of the marriage that was effective the day of the final decision; (5) Sudetenland courts that dissolved marriages were not required to enter custody orders; and (6) after Czechoslovakia’s liberation, parties had to petition to invalidate decrees issued under the GMA.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning ()

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