The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge
Plaintiff filed his complaint on July 1, 2005, seeking relief from the denial of his petition for naturalization by an immigration judge. On January 19, 2006, the court held a non-jury trial with respect to Plaintiff's complaint. For the reasons that follow, the court will issue an order directing Defendant to approve Plaintiff's application to be naturalized as a citizen of the United States.
The parties have stipulated to all relevant facts. Plaintiff was born on March 21, 1971 in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. His father was Jose Gonzalez and his mother is Ofelia Perales. Plaintiff is one of ten children. At six years of age, Plaintiff was admitted to the United States as a permanent resident. From that time, Plaintiff has been a continuous permanent resident of the United States. From 1977 to 1986, Plaintiff attended public schools in Laredo, Texas. In 1986, his mother and family moved to Florida where he attended Florida public schools from October 6, 1986 to December 4, 1987.
Plaintiff's father was killed in a work related accident in 1982. As a result of his father's death, Plaintiff eventually quit school in order to work and provide financial support for his family. Plaintiff has been gainfully employed for approximately the past fifteen years, and during that time Plaintiff has paid all relevant taxes.
In May 1999, Plaintiff was married to Lua Noelia Cervantes. From that marriage Plaintiff has two sons, both U.S. citizens: Kevin Gonzales born on March 2, 2002 and Brando Gonzalez born on April 9, 2004.
Plaintiff was employed by Borton Industry ("Borton") for approximately 12 years. According to Plaintiff's trial testimony, his work with Borton required substantial traveling.*fn1 Plaintiff left his employment with Borton and began working for Conewago Enterprises, Inc. ("Conewago") in 2004. According to Plaintiff's trial testimony, he left his employment with Borton so that he could spend more time at home with his family. Plaintiff's home is located in Hanover, Pennsylvania where Conewago Enterprises is also located.
On March 18, 1992, Plaintiff was arrested and charged in Shelby County, Tennessee for possession of more than 70 pounds of marijuana with the intent to sell. However, the charge of intent to sell was dropped, and Plaintiff pled guilty to a misdemeanor of simple possession of a controlled substance. Plaintiff was sentenced to a probationary term of 11 months and 29 days and fined 5,000 dollars. Plaintiff paid the fine and complied with the terms of his probation. On March 10, 1996, Plaintiff was arrested in Fostoria County, Ohio for driving under the influence.
Plaintiff paid a fine and had his license suspended for one year. Other than these two arrests, Plaintiff has never been arrested or charged with any crime.
On August 11, 2003, Plaintiff filed an Application for Naturalization. In his application, Plaintiff disclosed his prior criminal convictions. On October 13, 2004, Plaintiff's application was denied by an immigration judge. On that same date, the Immigration and Custom Enforcement Agency issued a Notice to Appear, charging that Plaintiff was being subject to removal as an alien who has been convicted of a controlled substance offense.
Plaintiff appealed the immigration judge's ruling; however, the immigration court found that it was prohibited from reviewing Plaintiff's application because Plaintiff was in removal proceedings. On June 21, 2005, Plaintiff's removal proceedings were cancelled. Plaintiff filed his complaint on July 1, 2005, and trial was held on January 19, 2006.
This court has jurisdiction over this action under the provisions of 8 U.S.C. § 1421, which provides that
[a] person whose application for naturalization under this title is denied, after a hearing before an immigration officer under ¶ 336(a), may seek review of such denial before the United States District Court for the district in which such person resides in accordance with Chapter 7 of Title 5, United States Code. Such review shall be de novo and the Court shall make its own findings of fact and ...