INA 340 allows federal prosecutors of the Justice Department to begin proceedings of a revocation of citizenship against any naturalized US Citizen who may have obtained immigration or naturalization benefits through fraud or misrepresentation.
Three months ago, jurors in Kansas found that a naturalized United States Citizen, Lazare Kobagaya, lied on immigration documents regarding his whereabouts during the 1994 Rwandan genocide that left an estimated 800,000 Rwandans dead. The jury was unsure as to whether Kobagaya actually participated in the atrocities. The jury was deadlocked on the second issue of whether Kobagaya lied during his naturalization proceedings, and therefore federal prosecutors decided to re-try the case.
Although the government spent an estimated $1 million trying to convict Kobagaya, federal prosecutors on Thursday asked the federal judge to dismiss the conviction of visa fraud and dismiss the charge of misrepresenting himself during his naturalization proceedings. After federal prosecutors failed to disclose important information to Kobagaya’s counsel regarding information from a consular official in Kenya who told federal prosecutors that she would not have inquired about Kobagaya’s whereabouts during the 1994 Rwandan genocide because of his Burundian citizenship, federal prosecutors had no choice but to drop the case. This information from the Consular Official would have been particularly important to Kobagaya’s counsel as part of their case rested on how Kobagaya’s location during the Rwandan genocide would not have led to keeping him out of the United States by being denied a visa from the Consular Official in Kenya.
Many believe that the government’s decision to drop the case came from a letter that Kobagaya’s Attorney wrote to the Justice Department expressing her desire for sanctions against federal prosecutors for failing to disclose the information from the Consular Official.
Kobagaya’s involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide remains an issue of uncertainty. His family believes that all accusations against him stemmed from him testifying in a war crimes trial in Finland.
Given that the Justice Department spent $1 million on this case, with even one juror claiming that it was a waste of money, it shows the necessity for better transparency between government officials and private attorneys in all issues regarding immigration. This has not only led to unnecessary embarrassment for the government, but has shown that attorneys working on important immigration matters should have more comprehensive access to important government records that may not be available from a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Request.
Danielle Beach-Oswald is the current President and Managing Partner of Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates in Washington, DC. Ms. Beach utilizes her 19 years of experience in immigration law to help individuals immigrate to the United States for humanitarian reasons. Born in Brussels, Belgium, Ms. Beach has lived in England, Belgium, Italy and Ivory Coast and has traveled extensively to many countries. Ms. Beach advocates for clients from around the world who seek freedom from torture in their country, or who are victims of domestic violence and trafficking. She has also represented her clients at U.S. Consulates in Romania, China, Canada, Mexico, and several African countries. With her extensive experience in family-based and employment-based immigration law Ms. Beach not only assists her clients in obtaining a better standard of living in the United States, she also helps employers obtain professional visas, and petitions for family members. She also handles many complex naturalization issues. Ms. Beach has unique expertise representing clients in immigration matters pending before the Federal District Courts, Circuit Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals and Immigration Courts. She has won over 400 humanitarian cases in the United States. Her firm's website is www.boilapc.com.