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Turfah v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

January 6, 2017

Kamal H. Turfah, Petitioner-Appellant,
v.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services; United States Department of Homeland Security, Respondents-Appellees.

          Argued: December 6, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit. No. 2:15-cv-10371-Marianne O. Battani, District Judge.

         COUNSEL

         ARGUED:

          Nabih H. Ayad, NABIH H. AYAD & ASSOCIATES, P.L.L.C., Detroit, Michigan, for Appellant.

          Patricia Gaedeke, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Detroit, Michigan, for Appellees.

         ON BRIEF:

          Nabih H. Ayad, NABIH H. AYAD & ASSOCIATES, P.L.L.C., Detroit, Michigan, for Appellant.

          Derri T. Thomas, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Detroit, Michigan, for Appellees.

          Before: BOGGS, GILMAN, and DONALD, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          RONALD LEE GILMAN, Circuit Judge.

          Kamal Turfah is a citizen of Lebanon. He has been a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the United States since he entered the country in September 1995. In November 2012, Turfah applied to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denied Turfah's application, finding that (1) he was ineligible for naturalization, and (2) he lacked good moral character. Only the former finding is before us on appeal because USCIS dismissed the latter.

         Turfah filed a timely petition for de novo review of USCIS's decision in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Both parties moved for summary judgment. The district court granted summary judgment for USCIS, holding that Turfah was ineligible for naturalization. For the reasons set forth below, we AFFIRM the judgment of the district court.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Turfah entered the United States when he was 19 years old. He traveled here on a visa that allowed him to enter the United States as an unmarried child under the age of 21 who was "accompanying or following to join" his father, the principal visa holder. Turfah arrived in the United States on September 23, 1995. Despite arriving on his own, rather than accompanying or following his father, the immigration authorities mistakenly admitted Turfah into the country. Turfah's father arrived in the United States less than a month later, on October 17, 1995. His father ultimately became a naturalized United States citizen.

         When Turfah applied for naturalization in November 2012, USCIS denied his application. USCIS determined that Turfah was "not lawfully admitted" for LPR status because he entered the country before his father was admitted, thus violating the requirement of his derivative visa that he had to be "accompanying or following" his father at the time of entry. In addition, USCIS denied Turfah's application for lack of good moral character based on his failure to accurately report and pay federal income taxes in 2010, but later dismissed ...


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