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Matthew Kolken on Deportation And Removal

Supreme Court Issues Unanimous Decision on Acquisition of Citizenship at Birth

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The Supreme Court has issued an immigration related decision (8-0) involving acquisition of citizenship at birth through your father holding that "the gender line Congress drew is incompatible with the Fifth Amendment’s requirement that the Government accord to all persons 'the equal protection of the laws.'" See Sessions v. Morales-Santana, June 12, 2017.

The relevant facts and procedural history of the case:

Respondent Luis Ramón Morales-Santana, who has lived in the United States since he was 13, asserts U. S. citizenship at birth based on the U. S. citizenship of his biological father, José Morales.José moved to the Dominican Republic 20 days short of his 19th birthday, therefore failing to satisfy §1401(a)(7)’s requirement of five years’ physical presence after age 14. There, he lived with the Dominican woman who gave birth to Morales-Santana. José accepted parental responsibility and included Morales-Santana in his household;he married Morales-Santana’s mother and his name was then added to hers on Morales-Santana’s birth certificate. In 2000, the Government sought to remove Morales-Santana based on several criminal convictions, ranking him as alien because, at his time of birth, his father did not satisfy the requirement of five years’ physical presence after age 14. An immigration judge rejected Morales Santana’s citizenship claim and ordered his removal. Morales* Santana later moved to reopen the proceedings, asserting that the Government’s refusal to recognize that he derived citizenship from his U. S.-citizen father violated the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee. The Board of Immigration Appeals denied the motion,but the Second Circuit reversed. Relying on this Court’s post-1970 construction of the equal protection principle as it bears on gender based classifications, the court held unconstitutional the differential treatment of unwed mothers and fathers. To cure this infirmity, the Court of Appeals held that Morales-Santana derived citizenship through his father, just as he would were his mother the U. S. citizen.

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Updated 06-13-2017 at 09:03 AM by MKolken

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