United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Stuart F. Delery, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Colin A. Kisor, Esq., Acting Director, Office of Immigration Litigation, District Court Section, Glenn M. Girdharry, Esq., Senior Litigation Counsel, Christopher W. Hillis, Esq., Trial Attorney, Washington, DC, Attorneys for Plaintiff.
Jorge Del Pino Velasquez, Hackensack, NJ, Pro Se Defendant.
DICKINSON R. DEBEVOISE, District Judge.
This matter arises out of a denaturalization proceeding initiating by Plaintiff United States of America against Defendant Jorge Del Pino Velasquez. On October 5, 2012, the United States filed a Complaint against Mr. Velasquez, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1451(a), setting forth causes of action for illegal procurement of U.S. citizenship and concealment or willful misrepresentation. The Complaint seeks an order (i) revoking Mr. Velasquez's citizenship in the United States; (ii) cancelling the Certificate of Naturalization, No. 21795990, previously issued to Mr. Velasquez; (iii) restraining and enjoining Mr. Velasquez from claiming any rights, privileges, benefits, or advantages under any document evidencing citizenship in the United States; and (iv) directing Mr. Velasquez to immediately surrender and deliver to the Attorney General the Certificate of Naturalization issued to him, as well as any copies thereof, and any other indicia of United States Citizenship in his possession, including any United States passport.
Mr. Velasquez did not respond to the Complaint. Consequently, the United States now moves for Default Judgment, or, in the alternative, Summary Judgment, in its favor, on the Complaint. Mr. Velasquez does not oppose the motion. For the reasons set forth below, the United States' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
On September 7, 1995, the Hackensack Police Department arrested Mr. Velasquez and charged him with aggravated sexual assault against his stepdaughter when she was less than thirteen years old, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2a(1). On March 22, 1996, the Office of the Bergen County Prosecutor indicted Mr. Velasquez for charges arising out of unlawful sexual activity with his stepdaughter that occurred between July 15, 1987 and June 30, 1994. On November 13, 1996, Mr. Velasquez pleaded guilty to Count Seven of the indictment, Criminal Sexual Assault in the Third Degree, N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3a, for acts committed sometime between July 15, 1991 and June 30, 1994.
On January 13, 1995, Mr. Velasquez filed a naturalization application with the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS"). Part 7, Question 15 of the application asks Mr. Velasquez to attest that he had "[n]ever (a) knowingly committed any crime for which he had not been arrested; or (b) been arrested, cited, charged, indicted, convicted, fined or imprisoned for breaking or violating any law or ordinance excluding traffic regulations[.]" (Gov't. Ex. E.) In response to subsection (a), Mr. Velasquez checked the box marked "No". (Id.) In response to subsection (b), Mr. Velasquez also checked the box marked "No". (Id.)
On September 13, 1995, the INS interviewed Mr. Velasquez under oath in conjunction with his naturalization application. At the interview, an INS interviewing officer confirmed the answers provided to the questions presented in the application. The interviewer specifically confirmed Mr. Velasquez's answers to Part 7, Question 15, where he marked "No" for subsection (a). With respect to subsection (b), Mr. Velasquez told the interviewer that he had been arrested only in relation to a deportation proceeding against him in 1985, prompting the interviewer to change Mr. Velasquez's response from "No" to "Yes", and writing "Deport" and "1985" under subsection (b). (Id.)
That same day, the INS approved Mr. Velasquez's naturalization application, and he took an oath of allegiance stating that, as of September 13, 1995, he was a citizen of the United States. In turn, Mr. Velasquez received a Certificate of Naturalization, No. 21795990.
On March 28, 2012, pursuant to the Civil Justice Reform Act ("CJRA"), the United States sent a letter to Mr. Velasquez, stating that the United States intended to bring a civil action in federal court seeking revocation of this United States citizenship. Mr. Velasquez signed for this letter. On April 19, 2012, Melvin R. Solomon, Esq. sent a letter to the United States stating that he was representing Mr. Velasquez.
On October 3, 2012, the United States sent an email to Mr. Solomon, stating that it was planning on filing a denaturalization complaint against Mr. Velasquez within the next few days, along with a waiver of service of summons. On October 4, 2012, Mr. Solomon responded to this email, stating that the last contact he had with Mr. Velasquez was in September 1997. Mr. Solomon had "no idea where he is or if he is dead or alive." (Gov't., Ex. L.) Moreover, the lawyer that had referred Mr. Velasquez's case to him had passed away. Mr. Solomon stated that he was willing to accept the complaint against Mr. Velasquez, and that (1) if he could reach Mr. Velasquez; and (2) Mr. Velasquez retains him, he will acknowledge service. Mr. Solomon concluded that he would let the United States know if he remained unable to locate Mr. Velasquez.
On October 5, 2012, the United States filed a Complaint against Mr. Velasquez and forwarded a copy to Mr. Solomon. On October 10, 2012, the United States sent a letter to Mr. Solomon, along with a Waiver of the Service of Summons form. A representative from Mr. Solomon's office received the letter.
On October 18, 2012, the United States sent Mr. Solomon a follow up email, asking if there was any further information about Mr. Velasquez and/or Mr. Solomon's representation of him in this matter. Mr. Solomon responded that day and said he was out of the country and would return in ten days, and that he was still trying to locate Mr. Velasquez. On November 9, 2012, the United States sent Mr. Solomon a second follow up email. On November 19, 2012, Mr. ...