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Citizenship Harder To Prove Through Fathers

•  Recent Cases     updated  2008/07/21 09:31


An immigration law that extends citizenship to children whose mothers are naturalized does not violate due process by not following the same rule for fathers, the 2nd Circuit ruled.

Otis Grant, a Jamaican citizen, was convicted in 1996 of second-degree murder. He challenged the Board of Immigration Appeals' ruling that he should be deported, arguing that his father was naturalized before Grant's 18th birthday and that he should have derivative citizenship. The immigration judge disagreed, stating that Grant was not entitled to citizenship because his father did not have legal custody of him.

A three-judge panel decided not to focus on the custody issue. Instead, it ruled that in order for a father to confer citizenship on his child, the father must legitimize him, acknowledge him or prove paternity.

"A mother's parental status is verifiable from the birth itself," the court ruled. "There is no such obvious or compelling proof of a father's status."

Using that reasoning, the court ruled that Grant's rights to equal protection and due process were not violated. The court denied Grant's petition to review his deportation.



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