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Court Backs Immigrants' Deportation for Fraud

November 14, 1996|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it easier for the government to deport some immigrants who entered the country through fraud.

Ruling unanimously in a California case, the court said immigration authorities can deny waivers to some people who entered through fraud even though it has a general policy of disregarding such acts.

"It is assuredly rational, and therefore lawful for [the government] to distinguish aliens . . . who engage in a pattern of immigration fraud from aliens who commit a single, isolated act of misrepresentation," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the court.

The ruling reversed a lower court decision that barred the government from considering fraud in a case involving a Taiwanese man who obtained two "sham" divorces from the same wife as part of his effort to gain U.S. citizenship.

Yueh-Shaio Yang and his wife, both Taiwanese citizens, were divorced in Taiwan after she learned in 1977 that she could pay $60,000 for a false U.S. birth certificate and passport.

She got the documents under a false name, and the couple remarried. Yang entered the United States in 1982 and was granted permanent residency on the grounds of being married to a U.S. citizen.

The couple lived in San Marino, and their daughter gained U.S. citizenship by marrying an American. Yang applied for U.S. citizenship, and the couple later divorced and remarried under the wife's true name.

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