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United States v. Flores-Villar

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
536 F.3d 990 (9th Cir. 2008)


Ruben Flores-Villar (defendant) was born in Mexico to a U.S. citizen father and a non-U.S. citizen mother. Flores-Villar’s father was 16 years old at the time of his birth. Flores-Villar moved with his father to the United States when Flores-Villar was two months old. When he was 22 years old, Flores-Villar was deported. Subsequently, Flores-Villar was charged with being a deported alien found in the United States after deportation. Flores-Villar defended himself on the ground that he was a U.S. citizen. However, Flores-Villar was not a U.S. citizen on account of a federal statute providing that an American father who had a child out of wedlock abroad with a non-citizen mother must have lived in the United States for at least five years after his fourteenth birthday in order to pass his American citizenship to the child. The same law provided that an American mother who had a child out of wedlock abroad with a non-citizen father was only required to live in the United States for a period of one year in order to pass her American citizenship to the child. Flores-Villar argued that this law violated his right to equal protection under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The federal government argued that the law furthered the governmental interests of avoiding the statelessness of a child in such a situation and of ensuring a strong link between the child and the American father and the United States as a country. The district court found that the statute was constitutional and convicted Flores-Villar. Flores-Villar appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Rymer, J.)

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