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CA5 Denaturalizes Former Salvadoran Military Officer: USA v. Vasquez

June 11, 2021 (1 min read)

USA v. Vasquez

"Arnoldo Antonio Vasquez, a former Salvadorian military officer, is now a naturalized American citizen. Based on his role in extrajudicial killings and a subsequent cover-up occurring during armed conflict in El Salvador, the government seeks to revoke his citizenship, that is, to denaturalize him. The district court conducted a three-day bench trial and declined to cancel Vasquez’s American citizenship. The district court erred. Although he may have refused to actually shoot civilians, we find that the former officer “assisted” and “participated in the commission of” extrajudicial killings during the Salvadorian Civil War, rendering him statutorily ineligible to assume the “high privilege” of American citizenship. 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(3)(E)(iii); Chaunt v. United States, 364 U.S. 350, 357 (1960) (Clark, J., dissenting). We therefore REVERSE and REMAND."