Imad Jaffal v. Director Newark New Jersey Fie

PRECEDENTIAL UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT _____________ No. 20-3148 _____________ Imad Jaffal, Appellant v. Director Newark New Jersey Field Office Immigration & Customs Enforcement; Director United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement; The Attorney General of the United States of America; Secretary United States Department of Homeland Security ________________ On Appeal from the District Court for the District of New Jersey (D.C. No. 2-18-cv-05237) District Judge: Hon. Stanley R. Chesler ________________ Argued on July 15, 2021 Before: McKEE, GREENAWAY, JR., and RESTREPO, Circuit Judges (Opinion filed: January 19, 2022) Alexandra V. Tseitlin (Argued) Tseitlin Law Firm P.C. 345 Seventh Avenue, 21st Floor New York, NY 10001 Counsel for Appellant Enes Hajdarpasic, Assistant United States Attorney J. Andrew Ruymann Office of United States Attorney 970 Broad Street Room 700 Newark, NJ 07102 Merrick Garland, United States Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, Acting Assistant Attorney General William C. Peachey, Director, District Court Section Office of Immigration Litigation Samuel P. Go, Assistant Director Dhruman Y. Sampat , Trial Attorney (Argued) United States Department of Justice Office of Immigration Litigation P.O. Box 868 Ben Franklin Station Washington, DC 20044 Counsel for Appellees ________________ OPINION OF THE COURT ________________ McKEE, Circuit Judge Appellant Imad Jaffal, born in Jordan, seeks a declaration that he is entitled to derivative U.S. citizenship under former 8 U.S.C. § 1432(a). That statute provides that “a child born outside the United States automatically acquires United States citizenship if, while the child is under the age of eighteen, the parent with legal custody of the child is naturalized while that child’s parents are legally separated.” 1 Jaffal’s father was naturalized when Jaffal was seventeen years old, and Jaffal presented evidence to the District Court that he was in the sole legal custody of his father when his father was 1 Morgan v. Att’y Gen., 432 F.3d 226, 228 (3d Cir. 2005). 2 naturalized and his parents were separated. The District Court, however, declined to accept Jaffal’s evidence of his parents’ divorce. Because we conclude that was error, we will reverse the order of the District Court and remand the matter with instructions to issue a judgment declaring Jaffal to be a national 2 of the United States. I. The evidence presented to the District Court establishes the following facts. Imad Jaffal’s parents, Naim Khalil Ismail Jaffal (father) and Nimeh Amin Odetallah Musleh (mother), were married in Amman, Jordan, on January 19, 1963. 3 Appellant, Imad Jaffal, was born in Amman, Jordan, on March 20, 1965. 4 Appellant came to the United States as a lawful permanent resident with his parents and siblings when he was eleven years old. Between 1979 and 1982, Jaffal and his family lived in Cleveland, Ohio. 5 In 1981, Jaffal’s mother traveled from Ohio to Jordan and remained in Jordan from January to April, 6 and returned again in September and stayed into October. 7 In September 1981, Jaffal’s father also traveled to Jordan and met with Jaffal’s mother. There, he divorced Jaffal’s mother pursuant …

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