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United States v. Garcia-Ochoa

607 F.3d 371 (2010)

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United States v. Garcia-Ochoa

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

607 F.3d 371 (2010)

Facts

Josue Garcia-Ochoa (defendant) was a citizen of El Salvador who was granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and given authorization to work in the United States. TPS was temporary and had to be renewed, and it did not grant United States citizenship or lawful permanent-resident status. Garcia-Ochoa falsely represented his immigration status on multiple I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification forms by marking that he was either a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident instead of correctly marking that he was an alien temporarily authorized to work in the United States. At one job site operated by the United States Navy, Garcia-Ochoa was granted a broad-access badge because the Navy relied on the I-9 forms to assign badges. The Navy only gave broad-access badges to workers who were not working under a temporary immigration status. Garcia-Ochoa was charged with making false statements in federal district court. Garcia-Ochoa admitted to making false statements on the I-9 forms but argued that the false statements were not material because he was permitted to work in the United States. Following a bench trial, Garcia-Ochoa was convicted on the false-statement charges. The district court held that materiality was sufficiently proved by the government (plaintiff) because the government demonstrated that the false statements could influence agency action. Garcia-Ochoa appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wilkinson, J.)

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