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Ampadu v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

May 3, 2013

CHARLES W. AMPADU, M.D., Petitioner,
v.
UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, DISTRICT DIRECTOR, Respondent.

OPINION

SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

Petitioner, Charles W. Ampadu, MD, has filed a Petition to Amend Certificate of Naturalization (Petition). See d/e 2. Petitioner's Certificate of Naturalization currently bears the birthdate of July 17, 1949. He seeks an Amended Certificate of Naturalization bearing what he alleges is his true birthdate of July 17, 1956. Respondent, the District Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, has filed a Motion to Dismiss in which Respondent argues this Court does not have subject-matter jurisdiction to amend Petitioner's Certificate of Naturalization. See d/e 21. For the reasons set forth below, the Court determines that it has jurisdiction to amend Petitioner's Certificate of Naturalization pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6). Therefore, Respondent's Motion to Dismiss is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

The Petition alleges as follows.

Petitioner was born in Ghana in the mid-1950's. Petitioner had seven siblings. Neither Petitioner's nor his siblings' exact dates of birth were contemporaneously recorded with any government officials. All dates of birth for Petitioner and his siblings were approximated.

After graduating high school in 1974, Petitioner was invited to the United States to explore options to continue his education at the post-secondary level. In order to travel to the United States, Petitioner needed a Ghanaian passport and a United States visa. Both were difficult to obtain because of the state of Ghana's government at that time.

At the time, the Ghanaian government was marked by mismanagement and corruption. This directly impacted Petitioner and his family's efforts to help him pursue his dream of visiting the United States. In order to obtain a Ghanaian passport, Petitioner's father had to pay a bribe to a person who took two of Petitioner's photographs and money. Three months later, Petitioner's father received Petitioner's passport with a visa stamp. The passport listed Petitioner's birth year as 1949. Although the family did not record Petitioner's exact birthdate and approximated it to be July 17, the family believed the birth year was probably 1956, not 1949. However, because of the commitment of a significant portion of the family's resources for airfare and the lack of time to correct the error before Petitioner's scheduled departure for the United States, Petitioner's father instructed him to get on the plane with his Ghanaian passport and to try to correct the error once he got to the United States. Petitioner did as he was told.

Petitioner first entered the United States on August 19, 1974, as a B-2 visa holder. According to the Department of State, a B-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa for people who want to enter the United States temporarily for tourism, pleasure, or visiting. See http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1262.html (last visited on May 3, 2013). On September 23, 1974, Petitioner applied for a change of status to F-1, or non-immigrant student. This application was denied.

In October 1975, Petitioner married Gwendolyn Wilder in Illinois. Shortly thereafter, an I-130 immigrant visa petition to classify status of alien relative for issuance of immigrant visa was filed on Petitioner's behalf. The I-130 petition was approved.

In December 1978, Petitioner filed his I-485 application for permanent resident status. According to the Petition, Ghana remained in turmoil throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The turmoil impacted the functioning of Ghana's internal government, its international functionality, and its ability to provide basic services to its citizens abroad. In light of his lack of opportunity to correct his passport and his fear of returning to Ghana's turmoil and economic struggles, Petitioner processed his application for permanent residence in the United States and did not disclose the facts relating to his approximated date of birth and birth year passport error. In April 1979, Petitioner was granted permanent resident status.

Petitioner attempted to correct his passport when his Ghanaian passport expired around 1984. He traveled to Washington D.C. and visited the Ghanaian Embassy where he was told he could not apply for a passport unless he paid a bribe. Petitioner could not afford to pay the bribe as he was working various low-paying jobs and attending school. It became clear to Petitioner that he would not be able to correct the birthdate error with the Ghanaian government. Therefore, when he filed his Application to File Petition for Naturalization on November 28, 1984, he listed his birth year of 1949 rather than his probable birth year of 1956.

On March 11, 1986, Petitioner completed his Petition for Naturalization. The Petition for Naturalization listed July 17, 1949 as Petitioner's birthdate. Petitioner was granted United States citizenship on April 26, 1986.

Over time, the conditions improved in Ghana and the government was more stable and able to provide basic services. In 2007, Petitioner's family registered his birth with the Register of Births in Ghana and listed July 17, 1956 as his date of birth in order to provide Petitioner the documentation he believed was required to correct his official information with the United States government.

On December 29, 2007, Petitioner completed an application for a passport to reflect his July 17, 1956 birthdate. On January 8, 2008, the United States Department of State issued a new passport reflecting the 1956 birth year. However, on May 24, 2011, the Department of State issued a letter to Petitioner informing him that it was revoking that passport because it was issued in error. The Department of State informed Petitioner that he could apply ...


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