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CA4 on Naturalization, Burden of Proof: Azumah v. USCIS

July 09, 2024 (1 min read)

Azumah v. USCIS - Vacated and remanded by published opinion. Judge Harris wrote the opinion, in which Judge Thacker joined. Judge Richardson wrote a separate opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment. ARGUED: Benjamin Ross Winograd, IMMIGRANT & REFUGEE APPELLATE CENTER, LLC, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellant. ON BRIEF: Ava Cayetano Benach, BENACH COLLOPY LLP, Washington, D.C., for Appellant.

"As the government concedes, Azumah was in fact “lawfully admitted for permanent residence” at all times relevant to this case – in 2010, in 2014, and when he sought citizenship – because at all those times, he had the status of a legal permanent resident of the United States. That is enough to satisfy the statutory requirement at issue. And we do not read the agency regulation now pressed by the government to impose upon Azumah the additional burden of showing that he was “lawfully admitted” – rather than paroled – when he returned to the United States in 2014. Accordingly, we vacate the judgment of the district court and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion."

[Hats way off to Ava Benach and Ben Winograd!  Listen to the oral argument here.]