Two North Texas residents face denaturalization after possibly unlawfully obtaining citizenship by concealing sex crimes during the naturalization process.
The residents, Moises Herrera-Gonzalez of Arlington and Emmanuel Olugbenga Omopariola of Grand Prairie, are among five men the Justice Department filed denaturalization lawsuits against Tuesday in Florida, Illinois, and Texas federal courts.
“Committing fraud in any immigration matter undermines the integrity of our immigration system, and is a betrayal of the American people’s generosity,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a press release. “It is especially appalling when it also involves the sexual abuse of children.”
Herrera-Gonzalez, 55, a native of Mexico, injured a 6-year-old in a sexual assault before being naturalized Sept. 25, 1999. While under oath, he failed to disclose his arrest when asked by the immigration officer, according to the Justice Department complaint.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
He pled guilty in 2002 in a Texas state court to committing bodily injury to a child, a third-degree felony, and was imprisoned in 2004 for violating probation, according to the complaint.
Omopariola, 60-year-old Nigeria native, made unlawful sexual contact with a 7-year-old in October 2002, seven months before filing his naturalization application, the complaint says.
He concealed this information, which would disqualify him from naturalization during the application processes and was granted citizenship in 2004, according to the complaint.
In 2015, he pled guilty to indecency with a child-sexual contact, in a plea agreement with the state attorney in which Omopariola registered as a sex offender and was sentenced to five years of community supervision, according to the Justice Department complaint.
Citizenship of a naturalized U.S. citizen may be revoked or canceled if it is found the naturalization was procured illegally by concealing or misrepresenting facts, according to a release from the Justice Department.
“By willfully concealing child sexual abuse crimes, the defendants also independently rendered themselves subject to denaturalization,” according to the release.
During the statutory period, five years before filing a naturalization application, the person filing must prove that they are of “good moral character,” according to federal law. Committing crimes such as sexual assault of a minor and pleading guilty to those crimes makes the defendants ineligible for citizenship from the start, according to the release.
Sorayah Zahir: 817-390-7543, @ssorayah