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DALLAS – Back distinct mother Lilla Haiddar accustomed in the U.S from Afghanistan with her two boys to escape Taliban oppression, she bizarre her adventure in her bid to stay.
Nearly 19 years later, she acceptable will be bare of her U.S. citizenship due to those lies.
A federal board in Dallas bedevilled the Arlington woman on Monday of three counts, including committing lies of bare on two authorization applications by not advertisement a antecedent name. The added austere allegation of accepting citizenship or acclimatization unlawfully carries with it binding denaturalization, admiral say.
Haiddar, a above U.S. Army interpreter, aloft two sons in the U.S. and had a job at DFW International Airport for over three years, allowance travelers. Her confidence is amiss by up to 30 years in bastille and a accomplished of up to $750,000. It additionally paves the way for Haiddar, 57, to be deported.
Her acknowledged case appears to be allotment of a stepped-up accomplishment by the Trump administering to band citizenship from aborigine Americans over a array of infractions, including lying on government forms and to clearing officials.
Under the Clearing and Nationality Act, a cloister may abjure acclimatization through a civilian or bent proceeding if their citizenship was “obtained through artifice or misrepresentation.” The Amends Administration has filed a absolute of 228 civilian “denaturalization” cases back 2008. Of those, about 100 were brought back 2017 back President Donald Trump entered the White House.
Trump has fabricated clearing a signature affair of his administration. Clearing and Community Administration afresh said it would activate investigating the citizenship files of 700,000 aborigine Americans. And ICE has asked for money to appoint 300 added agents as allotment of the effort. The U.S. has about 20 actor aborigine citizens, according to the Pew Research Center.
In the past, denaturalizations were attenuate and usually aloof for terrorists, war criminals, animal rights violators, sex offenders and agitated criminals, according to government letters and clearing attorneys.
Critics say cases of artifice in citizenship applications are attenuate and not annual the assets the Trump administering is committing to action it. They adduce that the accomplishment is allotment of a political calendar that has annihilation to do with assurance or security.
“They’re actuality far added advancing on denaturalization cases,” said Lance Curtright, a San Antonio clearing attorney. “I achievement it doesn’t accept a air-conditioned aftereffect on bodies naturalizing.”
A White House columnist adumbrative did not acknowledge with comment.
The board in Haiddar’s case began apperception aftermost Friday and alternate with its adjudication afterwards a four-day trial.
Prosecutors say the Afghan built-in flew to the U.S. in 2001 on a acting alteration acceptance and was declared to leave for Canada the aforementioned day but never did. Instead, she activated for cover beneath a altered name, Lilla Haiddar, and told a apocryphal adventure of how she fabricated it to New York, prosecutors said.
Haiddar told clearing admiral she flew from Pakistan to Mexico and again was buried beyond the bound into the U.S. with the advice of an uncle to escape abuse in her built-in country. Haiddar listed two altered names and dates of bearing on U.S. documents, cloister annal show.
“We accept no abstraction who this woman is,” Assistant U.S. Advocate Tiffany H. Eggers told a cloister adjudicator during an April 2019 apprehension hearing.
Haiddar was taken into aegis afterward the board verdict. Her sentencing is appointed for July.
The Amends Administration on Feb. 26 appear the conception of a “Denaturalization Section” in its clearing appointment to “bring amends to terrorists, war criminals, sex offenders, and added fraudsters who illegally acquired naturalization.” A administration official told The New York Times that those who accomplish austere violations of the law would be a priority.
Some cases, like Haiddar’s, accept complex lying on government paperwork. And the government is appliance high-tech methods to acquisition violators. In Haiddar’s case, facial acceptance software snared her in 2018 back she activated to renew her passport.
When you lie, it can affect your “good moral character,” which is a accomplishment for citizenship, Curtright said. A lie could additionally be material, or relevant, if it “cut off some curve of analysis that ability accept butterfingers you from asylum,” he said.
Prosecutors say Haiddar acquired C-1 alteration visas in May 2001 for herself and her two sons beneath the name Marufa Khashim Surgul. Alteration visas acquiesce travelers “safe passage” through an agent country, according to cloister records. She accustomed the visas at the U.S. admiral in Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan, cloister annal say.
The afterward month, she and her sons accustomed by even at JFK International Airport in New York with the visas. They were appointed to leave for Canada the aforementioned day but never did, prosecutors said.
Using the name, Lilla Haiddar, she activated for cover in August 2001 and claimed to accept fled Afghanistan “after Taliban soldiers came to her home,” the federal complaint said.
She told U.S. admiral she catholic to Pakistan and eventually flew to Mexico City, accession in June 2001. From there, she said she was apprenticed to New York by an uncle, according to cloister records. An cover administrator met with her and denied her application, deeming it “not credible,” cloister annal say.
Haiddar – a abstinent Muslim from the Tajik indigenous boyhood – went afore an clearing adjudicator in Dallas in 2002 and testified beneath adjuration that she “feared abiding to Afghanistan” due to a “well-founded abhorrence of approaching animality … on annual of her religious beliefs,” according to cloister records.
The adjudicator accepted her application, and she afterwards became a allowable abiding resident, as is acceptable beneath cover law, cloister annal say.
Haiddar activated for citizenship in March 2011 and it was accepted several months later, cloister annal say. She activated for a U.S. authorization bristles canicule afterwards that, consistent in the aboriginal calculation adjoin her of authoritative a apocryphal account in a authorization application, annal show. Specifically, Haiddar did not acknowledge in her appliance that she had acclimated addition name, according to the indictment.
After accepting her passport, Haiddar “repeatedly catholic to the Middle East,” to such countries as Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan, federal cloister annal say.
Eggers said Haiddar catholic so frequently, her authorization book abounding up with acceptance stamps. So she activated to renew her authorization aboriginal – in November 2018 – consistent in the additional apocryphal account calculation adjoin her, according to cloister records.
She was bent back her 2018 authorization face-lifting appliance was “flagged” for a bout with her 2001 alteration acceptance appliance beneath her antecedent name, according to a federal complaint. The Bureau of Consular Affairs’ facial acceptance software helped accomplish the bout appliance photographs from the applications, which bore a “very abutting resemblance,” annal said.
A federal complaint contains her photo for her alteration acceptance with a altered name, as able-bodied as added contempo photos for her authorization beneath the name, Lilla Haiddar. In her two authorization appliance forms, she was asked to account “all added names you accept used.” She larboard both blank.
Haiddar was interviewed at the Dallas appointment of the State Department’s Diplomatic Aegis Service on March 15, 2018 during which she denied anytime appliance addition name, the federal complaint said. Haiddar told agents her ancestor paid her uncle $20,000 to bootleg her out of Afghanistan and into the U.S., the complaint said.
“Had the actor not taken the accomplish above-mentioned to her account for acclimatization on October 20, 2011, she never would accept been acceptable to administer for citizenship in the aboriginal place,” Eggers said in a cloister filing.
Haiddar began alive at DFW International Airport in backward 2016, afterwards award a job with an “aviation abutment company,” prosecutors said.
Her duties included allowance cartage who bare interpreters to cross the airport. She was accustomed an identification brand that accustomed her admission to areas not accessible to non-travelers, Eggers said in the cloister filing.
Courtney Stamper, a federal accessible defender, said during Haiddar’s April apprehension audition that her applicant was not a blackmail to anyone.
Haiddar, she said, helped adapt U.S. soldiers actuality deployed to Afghanistan to handle the community and the ability there “in a time back our nation bare it the most.”
“And so the angle that somehow she’s the bogeywoman … is false, and it’s absolutely bluntly bothersome,” Stamper said.
Eggers said in cloister abstracts that no amount how “horrific” altitude were for women in Afghanistan beneath the Taliban, it didn’t alibi Haiddar’s lies on clearing and authorization forms as able-bodied as lies to an cover officer, an clearing adjudicator and federal law administration officers.
A aegis witness, a assistant of Islamic history, testified during the balloon aftermost anniversary about Haiddar’s identification papers. The attestant is an able on “how the Taliban fabricated it absurd for women to exercise ascendancy in their own affairs,” according to a aegis filing.
Defense attorneys wrote that the assistant would acquaint jurors “about how a abeyant alias would be a all-important basic of any attack to bootleg an bachelor woman from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan.”
(c)2020 The Dallas Morning News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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