United States v. Puerta

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit982 F.2d 1297 (1992)

Facts

Puerta (defendant) was born in Spain in 1956, came to the United States on a student visa in 1981, and was admitted as a permanent resident alien in 1984. In 1990 he filed for naturalization. On the application, Puerta responded “none” to questions asking him to list any other names he had used and absences from the United States since the time of his permanent residence. He orally confirmed these answers in an interview with an Immigration Examiner. Puerta was naturalized after that interview. In 1991 he was arrested for attempted bank fraud. A subsequent search found a number of driver’s licenses in various names and a Spanish passport with a different name that had been used to enter the United States in 1986. Every piece of identification was dated prior to the date Puerta filed for naturalization. Puerta was convicted by a trial court of violating 18 U.S.C. §1425(a), which established criminal penalties for anyone who “knowingly procures or attempts to procure, contrary to law, the naturalization of any person.” This appeal followed.

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