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SCOTUS Blog – Argument preview: Evaluating the INA’s citizenship-transmission requirement

From the SCOTUS Blog:

Argument preview: Evaluating the INA’s citizenship-transmission requirement

By Anna Christensen

Tomorrow the Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Flores-Villar v. United States.

Case Pages

Flores-Villar v. US

Background

Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (as in effect at the time of petitioner’s birth in 1974), a child born outside the United States to unmarried parents – a U.S.-citizen mother and a non-citizen father – can obtain U.S. citizenship at birth if his mother was physically present in the United States for a minimum of one year before the child’s birth.  By contrast, a child born outside the United States to unmarried parents –a U.S.-citizen father and a non-citizen mother – can obtain U.S. citizenship only if the father was physically present in the United States for at least ten years, five of which must have been after the father’s fourteenth birthday.

Petitioner Ruben Flores-Villar was born in 1974 in Tijuana, Mexico.  His father – then sixteen years old – was a U.S. citizen, while his mother was a Mexican national; the two were not married.  With the consent of Flores-Villar’s mother, his father and paternal grandmother raised the child in California.  In 1985, his father formally recognized him as his son by filing a paternity acknowledgment in Mexico and by claiming him on his U.S. income taxes.

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