Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Urzua v. Gonzales (9th Cir. - May 29, 2007)

Sometimes it doesn't pay to be a truthful person.

Take Neftali Urzua Covarrubias, for example. He wants to stay in the United States. Here's his scoop: "There is no dispute that Urzua has met the requirements of continuous presence and extreme hardship to himself and to his son. Urzua has been in the United States for almost eighteen years. During this time, Urzua has worked for the same employer and has paid taxes. He learned English and is active in his church and in his community. He and his brother own a house together. Urzua coaches a children’s soccer team, and he is very close to his extensive family residing in California, including four siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and
cousins. Urzua also plays an important role in the life of his elevenyear-old U.S.-born citizen son whom he supports emotionally and financially. Although his son does not live with him, Urzua spends part of nearly every day with his son, provides him with medical insurance, and pays child support."

The problem, however, is that when Neftali was asked about his brother at the immigration hearing, Neftali volunteered that he had paid $1200 to help get his brother over the border. Oops! As the youngsters say nowadays, "TMI". As the immigration judge said below: "“I do believe that [Urzua] is statutorily ineligible to establish good moral character because of having helped his brother enter the United States illegally. I think part of the problem is that he, [Urzua], is such a[n] honest person, that he just volunteered a little too much information.”

Judge Tallman affirms. Judge Pregerson dissents.

All the guy had to do was lie and I'm sure they'd have never found out about helping out his brother. We tell our children that the truth will set you free. Not here. Unless by "free" we mean "deported".