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Luong v. Barrows

United States District Court, D. Colorado

March 9, 2018

THU NGOC LUONG, A058-679-176, Plaintiff,
v.
KRISTI BARROWS, DISTRICT DIRECTOR OF BUREAU OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, and THE BUREAU U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, Defendants.

          ORDER

          KATHLEEN M TAFOYA UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This case comes before the court on Defendants' “Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim” under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).” (Doc. No. 24). Plaintiff filed her response on September 1, 2017 (Doc. No. 26 [Resp.]), and Defendants filed their reply on September 1, 2017 (Doc. No. 28 [Reply]).

         INTRODUCTION

         The case concerns the adjudication of a naturalization application by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”)-specifically, judicial review of the denial of Plaintiff's application for naturalization, pursuant to section 310(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”). 8 U.S.C. § 1421(c).

         On October 26, 2015, Plaintiff filed an application for naturalization (“INS Form N-400”) applying to become a U.S. citizen. (See Petition [Pet.] ¶1.) On July 15, 2016, USCIS denied Plaintiff's application for naturalization on the grounds that she lacks “good moral character.” Id. That denial was based solely on a criminal conviction she sustained on May 14, 2011.

         On October 11, 2016, Plaintiff appeared for an interview before USCIS pursuant to 8 C.F.R. §336. Subsequently, on March 14, 2017, USCIS issued a final decision denying Plaintiff's application for naturalization for lack of good moral character.

         The parties do not dispute that Plaintiff has properly exhausted all administrative remedies.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Failure to State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can Be Granted

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides that a defendant may move to dismiss a claim for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (2007). “A court reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint presumes all of plaintiff's factual allegations are true and construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1198 (10th Cir. 1991). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Plausibility, in the context of a motion to dismiss, means that the plaintiff pleaded facts which allow “the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. A complaint warrants dismissal if it fails “in toto to render [plaintiff's] entitlement to relief plausible.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 569 n.14.

         Notwithstanding this, the court need not accept conclusory allegations without supporting factual averments. Southern Disposal, Inc., v. Texas Waste, 161 F.3d 1259, 1262 (10th Cir. 1998). “[T]he tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S at 678. “Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with a defendant's liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.” Id. (quotation omitted).

         B. Administrative Review under 8 U.S.C. §1101(f) and 8 U.S.C. § 1101(f)

         The INA and its corresponding regulations govern the naturalization process. Among many principles, this body of law provides that “no alien has the slightest right to naturalization” unless all statutory requirements are met. Fedorenko v. United States, 449 U.S. 490, 506 (1981) quoting United States v. Ginsberg, 243 U.S. 472, 475 (1917).

         A naturalization applicant bears the burden of showing her eligibility and compliance with all naturalization requirements. Berenyi v. Dist. Dir., INS, 385 U.S. 630, 637 (1967); 8 C.F.R. § 316.2(b). Any doubts about eligibility should be resolved in favor of the United States and against the applicant. Id.; see also United States v. Manzi, 276 U.S. 463, 467 (1928). To obtain the privilege of naturalization, ...


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