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Tamerlan Tsarnaev's citizenship application was pending

April 21, 2013|By Brian Bennett and Richard. A. Serrano
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, who was killed in a confrontation with police, had a U.S. citizenship application pending. His brother Dzhokhar, 19, became a citizen on Sept. 11, 2012.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, who was killed in a confrontation with police,…

WASHINGTON -- Despite reports that Tamerlan Tsarnaev harbored resentment over the U.S. denying his  citizenship application, the application was still pending at the time of the Boston Marathon bombings, a law enforcement source said Sunday. 

Tamerlan, 26, filed an application for  citizenship six months ago and immigration officials had not yet made a decision on his case at the time of the Boston Marathon bombings, the source said.

Immigration officials were aware of a domestic violence charge on his record and also knew that the FBI had questioned him, the source said, but it's unclear what Tamerlan was told about his prospects for citizenship.

Days after the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three and injured more than 170, investigators are still trying to understand the motives of of the two prime suspects, Tamerlan and his younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. Authorities have begun to delve into the details of how the brothers came to be in the United States. 

The Tsarnaevs, ethnic Chechens, immigrated with their family from Russia about a decade ago. They were granted refugee status and settled in Cambridge. Tamerlan was a permanent resident and held a Russian passport.

A previous bid for citizenship was documented by Toronto-based photographer and scientist Johannes Hirn, who published a 15-page photo essay that depicted Tamerlan training for the U.S. Olympic team. The photo essay, titled, "Will Box for Passport," said that Tamerlan hoped to become a naturalized U.S. citizen by earning a place on the team. 

But an official with USA Boxing, the official body that oversees amateur boxing, said Tamerlan was ineligible to compete in Olympic qualifying events because he was not  a citizen.

Tamerlan's brother Dzhokhar became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 11, 2012. He was a student at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, where various friends described him as social and outgoing.

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