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Nguyen v. Immigration & Naturalization Service

United States Supreme Court
533 U.S. 53 (2001)


Facts

Nguyen (defendant) was born in Vietnam to an unmarried couple consisting of an American man and a Vietnamese woman. When Nguyen was six years old, he traveled to the United States where he was raised by his father and became a lawful permanent resident. When Nguyen was twenty-two, he was convicted in Texas of two crimes of sexual assault on a child. The Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) (plaintiff) instituted deportation proceedings against Nguyen. At an immigration hearing, Nguyen was determined to be a citizen of Vietnam and deportable. Nguyen appealed, and his father meanwhile obtained an order of parentage from a state court based on DNA testing. The Board of Immigration Appeals rejected this order on the grounds Nguyen did not establish compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1409(a) which sets forth the citizenship requirements for a person born out of wedlock and abroad to a citizen father and non-citizen mother. Nguyen then appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, alleging that § 1409 violates the Equal Protection Clause. The court rejected this constitutional challenge, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

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Concurrence (Scalia, J.)

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Dissent (O’Connor, J.)

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