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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Danville Resident Ordered Denaturalized

SAN FRANCISCO – Jie Zhong’s naturalization was revoked and set aside by the United States District Court on Thursday, August 29, 2013, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. The court’s decision followed a trial before the Honorable Maria-Elena James, U.S. Magistrate Judge.

Evidence at trial showed that Zhong, 37, of Danville, Calif., falsely claimed to be a Falun Gong practitioner, and obtained asylum based on that false claim. He then applied for permanent residency; however, after waiting four years for that application to be approved, Zhong divorced his Chinese national wife and married a United States citizen for the purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit. Zhong’s first asylum-based application for permanent residency was approved, and he received naturalization based on that status. In late 2010, an officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) began investigating Zhong because she believed there were some indications of marriage fraud.

Judge James found in favor of the United States on all counts alleged in the complaint. Specifically, Judge James found that Zhong illegally procured citizenship because he engaged in marriage fraud and asylum fraud. Judge James further found that Zhong illegally procured citizenship because he provided false testimony under oath and thus lacked the good moral character requisite for naturalization, and because he procured naturalization by concealment of a material fact.

“The prosecution of this case demonstrates the commitment of this office to preventing immigration fraud,” said United States Attorney Melinda Haag. “Both naturalization and asylum are precious immigration benefits, and it is important to ensure that the path to each is secure.”

“When people enter the United States, immigrate and later become citizens, all done through fraud, their unlawful actions harm the integrity of our immigration system,” said San Francisco District Fraud Detection and National Security Chief Rebecca Galindo. “We at USCIS are proud of having discovered this double fraud, and of having developed the case for successful prosecution.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie L. Proctor prosecuted the case with the assistance of Paralegal Tiffani Chiu, and Legal Assistants Tina Louie and Kathy Terry. Trial Attorney Stacey Young, Office of Immigration Litigation, Civil Division, U.S. Department of Justice, served as co-counsel on the case. The prosecution is the result of a one-year investigation by USCIS and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, both part of Department of Homeland Security.

(Zhong order )