United States v. Rahman, Civil Action No. 18-10530

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
Writing for the CourtMagistrate Judge David R. Grand
PartiesUNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. HUMAYUN KABIR RAHMAN, f/k/a Md Humayun Kabir Talukder, a/k/a Ganu Miah, a/k/a Shafi Uddin Defendant.
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 18-10530
Decision Date20 April 2020

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
HUMAYUN KABIR RAHMAN, f/k/a Md Humayun Kabir Talukder,
a/k/a Ganu Miah, a/k/a Shafi Uddin Defendant.

Civil Action No. 18-10530

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN SOUTHERN DIVISION

April 20, 2020


Magistrate Judge David R. Grand

AMENDED OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S AND DEFENDANT'S CROSS-MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [28, 29]

"[T]he right to acquire American citizenship is a precious one." See Fedorenko v. United States, 449 U.S. 490, 505 (1981). It is "the highest hope of civilized men" and it "would be difficult to exaggerate its value and importance." See Schneiderman v. United States, 320 U.S. 118, 122 (1943).

In this case, the United States of America has filed a Complaint to Revoke Naturalization of Defendant Humayun Kabir Rahman ("Rahman" or the "Defendant") pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1451(a). (ECF No. 1). In short, the government alleges that Rahman procured his naturalization unlawfully, by making materially false statements in his Form N-400 Application for Naturalization and by giving false testimony regarding that application to an immigration officer.

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Presently before the Court1 are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment on the government's three claims against Rahman: Count I - Illegal Procurement of Naturalization - Lack of Good Moral Character, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1427(a)(3); Count II - Illegal Procurement of Naturalization - Not Lawfully Admitted for Permanent Residence (Procured by Fraud or Willful Misrepresentation), in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1427(a)(1); and Count III - Procurement of United States Citizenship by Concealment of a Material Fact or Willful Misrepresentation, in violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1451(a). (ECF Nos. 28, 29).

Because of the "value and importance" of U.S. citizenship, the law imposes a stringent, but not insurmountable burden on the government in a "denaturalization" case like this one: the "evidence justifying revocation of citizenship must be clear, unequivocal, and convincing and not leave the issue in doubt." Fedorenko, 449 U.S. at 505. For the reasons discussed below, the government failed to satisfy that exacting standard at the summary judgment stage. However, Rahman also failed to establish his entitlement to summary judgment. Accordingly, the Court will deny the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 28, 29).

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I. Background

A. Operation Janus

On September 8, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"), Office of Inspector General ("OIG"), issued a report titled, "Potentially Ineligible Individuals Have Been Granted U.S. Citizenship Because of Incomplete Fingerprint Records." (ECF No. 37, PageID.962). About a year later, on September 19, 2017, the Department of Justice issued a press release about "Operation Janus," in which the Justice Department initiated civil actions to denaturalize citizens who it believed had procured their naturalized citizenship fraudulently. United States v. Kahn, No. 17-965, 2019 WL 764026, at *15 (M.D. Fl. Feb. 21, 2019). The government's instant case against Rahman is one such action.

The government alleges that before he submitted the immigration application that ultimately led to his naturalized citizenship, Rahman had applied for immigration benefits under two different names - "Ganu Miah" and "Shafi Uddin." Due to their respective failures to appear at scheduled immigration hearings, "Miah" was ordered excluded and deported and "Uddin" was ordered deported. Thus, the government claims that Rahman lied in connection with his subsequent application for immigration benefits when he represented that he had never lied to a United States government official while applying for any immigration benefit and that he had never been ordered removed or deported from the United States.

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The government attempts to prove its case largely through evidence contained in the "A-files"2 of Rahman, Miah, and Uddin, but it places a heavy, if not principal reliance on Rahman's refusal to answer the government's discovery questions. Indeed, under the heading in its summary judgment motion, "'Ganu Miah,' 'Shafi Uddin,' and 'Humayn Kabir Rahman' Are One and the Same Person," the government leads with the subheading, "Defendant Repeatedly Invoked the Fifth Amendment." (ECF No. 29, PageID.290).

B. Ganu Miah, Shafi Uddin and Humayun Kabir Rahman

i. Ganu Miah

On February 6, 1992, an individual claiming to be "Ganu Miah" arrived in the United States aboard British Airways flight 177 from London to New York. (ECF No. 29, PageID.285; ECF No. 29-3, PageID.321). Miah presented an altered Bangladeshi passport bearing the name "Md Jashim Uddin." (ECF No. 29-5, PageID.326). Immigration officers paroled Miah into the United States until June of 1992, for the purpose of applying for asylum. (ECF No. 29-3, PageID.321). Miah submitted a Form I-589, Request for Asylum along with a full set of fingerprints. (ECF No. 29-8, PageID.341-343). Miah was interviewed in connection with his

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asylum application, but that application was not granted. (ECF No. ECF No. 29-7; No. 29-9). In addition, despite being personally served with a Form I-22 Notice to Applicant Detained/Deferred for hearing Before Immigration Judge, charging Miah with being excludable from the United States under 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) for not having a valid, unexpired immigrant visa, Miah failed to appear in immigration court on that matter. (Id.) An immigration judge ordered that he "be excluded and deported" from the United States. (ECF No. 29-10).

ii. Shafi Uddin

On October 11, 1994, a person claiming to be "Shafi Uddin" filed a Form I-589, Request for Asylum along with a full set of fingerprints and a photograph dated September 27, 1994. (ECF No. 29-11-14). He stated that he never used any other names. (Id.). However, in an interview with immigration officials on September 13, 1995, he stated under oath that he entered the United States on July 16, 1994, with a passport bearing the name "Syed Ali." (ECF No. 29-14). Despite being personally served on September 27, 1995, with an Order to Show Cause and Notice of Hearing charging Uddin with deportability under 8 U.S.C. § 231(a)(1)(A), he failed to appear in immigration court on that matter on April 8, 1997, and was ordered deported. (ECF No. 29-17).

iii. Defendant Humayun Kabir Rahman, f/k/a Md Humayun Kabir Talukder

On October 6, 1997, the Defendant - whose legal name at the time was Md

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Humayun Kabir Talukder - submitted Form DS-230, Parts I and II and supplemental registration (collectively, "Form DS-230") to the U.S. Department of State's National Visa Center. (ECF No. 29-18). He indicated that his name was "Md Humayun Kabir Talukder," and that he had never used any other names, had never attempted to enter the United States illegally, and had never been denied admission to the United States. (ECF No. 29-18).3 "Talukder's" visa application was ultimately granted, and he thereafter submitted a Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status ("Form I-485"), along with a full set of fingerprints, dated November 1, 1997. (ECF Nos. 29-19-20). On the Form I-485, Defendant again stated under oath that his name was "Md Humayun Kabir Talukder," that he was not facing exclusion or deportation, and that he had never sought to procure (or actually procured) a visa, entry in to the United States, or any other immigration benefit, through fraud or willful misrepresentation of a material fact. (ECF No. 29-19). In a separate Form G-325A he submitted the same day, Defendant also represented that he had never used any other names. (ECF No. 29-21). During an April 27, 1998 interview, he represented that he entered the United States at Buffalo, New York, in the back of a car without inspection. (ECF No. 29-22, PageID.442, 470-72; see also ECF No. 29-19, PageID.389). On July 28, 1998,

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"Talukder's" application was approved, according him permanent resident status. (ECF No. 29-19). A few weeks later, Defendant submitted photographs and fingerprints to be used in preparing his permanent resident card. (ECF No. 29-22, PageID.454-458; No. 29-29).

About five years later, on August 15, 2003, Defendant - still named Md Humayun Kabir Talukder - applied to become a naturalized United States citizen by submitting Form N-400, Application for Naturalization ("Form N-400") to USCIS. (ECF No. 29-32-33). In response to Form N-400's question: "If you have ever used other names, provide them below," Defendant wrote "N/A." (Id., PageID.507). He marked "No" in response to a series of questions about his past, including: "Have you EVER given false or misleading information to any U.S. government official while applying for any immigration benefit or to prevent deportation, exclusion, or removal?"; "Have you EVER lied to any U.S. government official to gain entry or admission into the United States?"; "Have you EVER been ordered to be removed, excluded, or deported from the United States?"; and "Have you EVER applied for any kind of relief from removal, exclusion, or deportation?" (Id., PageID.514-15) (emphasis in original). Defendant signed Form N-400 under penalty of perjury, attesting that his answers were true and correct. (Id., PageID.516) He also submitted a set of fingerprints with the application. (ECF No. 29-20).4

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On May 24, 2004, Defendant was interviewed under oath by a USCIS officer, and he provided testimony consistent with his answers to the written questions described in the preceding paragraph. (ECF No. 29-34, PageID.565; ECF No. 29-51, PageID.674). Defendant's application for naturalization was approved that same day, and he was set to become naturalized on June 14, 2004. (ECF No. 29-52, PageID.722-24). Also on May 24, 2004, Defendant submitted a petition to change his name from "Md Humayn Kabir Talukder" to "Humayn Kabir Rahman." (Id.). That petition was granted on June 14, 2004, and a Certificate of...

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