Anize v. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services
Background: The petitioner seeks review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals, which denied an application for cancellation of removal on the ground that the applicant was improperly denied an opportunity to complete an application for naturalization. The IJ’s decision denied an application for cancellation of removal and ordered Azize removed to the Dominican Republic. Azize contends that two applications for his naturalization were denied improperly in 1987 and 1989.
Azize, now 44 years old, was born in the Dominican Republic in 1965. He came to the United States with his mother when he was five years old and has lived here since that time. He became a legal permanent resident in 1971 and received a Resident Alien Receipt Card, also known as a green card. He enlisted in the military in 1984 and was honorably discharged in 1990. He lives in Florida with his elderly mother, who is a U.S. citizen. He has three children and three brothers, all of whom are U.S. citizens. Several years after his unsuccessful second attempt to become a citizen, Azize became addicted to drugs. On Sept. 17, 1997, he was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment upon pleading guilty to attempted seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Removal proceedings were commenced based on that conviction.
Ruling: The case is remanded for further proceedings to the district court, from which a petition for a writ of habeas corpus had been transferred. The court concludes that the “equities that Azize has asserted persuade us to exercise the broad authority set forth” under statute, and also “in light of the Government’s decision not to oppose a remand.”
A dissenting opinion by Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs states that the “majority opinion does not convince me that this Court has the power to confer citizenship on anyone. … Absent statutory authorization, there is no reason to believe that the federal courts have the power to grant citizenship.”
Hagit M. Elul Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP for the petitioner, and F. James Loprest Jr., special assistant U.S. attorney, for the respondents