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Nguyen v. Immigration & Naturalization Service

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

Nguyen v. Immigration & Naturalization Service


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.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

Concurrence (Scalia, J.)

Dissent (O’Connor, J.)

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