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5th Circuit

Mr. Robertson-Dewar immigrated to the United States through his father, a U.S. citizen through naturalization.  His father applied for him to obtain a certificate of citizenship when Mr. Robertson-Dewar was 15.  The statute under which he should have become a citizen gave the DHS a duty to naturalize eligible minors upon the application of their parents.  The Government’s regulations called for the application to be adjudicated within 60 days of application, and in any event before the minor turned 18.  But in Mr. Robertson-Dewar’s case, the application was never adjudicated.

As a college student, Mr. Robertson-Dewar committed a crime which is an aggravated felony and would render him deportable, because he was never naturalized.  The primary legal argument on appeal is that the DHS should be estopped from seeking Mr. Robertson-Dewar’s removal from the United States, because removal would be possible only because of the Government’s failure to comply with its duty to adjudicate his naturalization application in a timely manner.

This case was argued by pro bono attorney Julia Martinez (Jenner & Block) on February 2, 2011.  On July 8, 2011, the court denied Mr. Robertson-Dewar's petition. 

Listen to the oral argument here.