Khalid v. Sessions, No. 16-3480 (2d Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Second Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision affirming the IJ's order of removal because petitioner had derivative citizenship from his citizen father. The court held that the temporary physical separation caused by petitioner's time in federal pretrial juvenile detention did not strip petitioner's father of his "physical custody" of petitioner as that term is used in 8 U.S.C. 1431(a), and therefore petitioner is a U.S. citizen.
The court explained that the statutory context and history of the derivative citizenship statute indicate that the "physical custody" requirement ensures that the legal permanent resident child, such as petitioner, has a strong connection to the naturalizing parent and to the United States at the time the child becomes eligible for derivative citizenship. Furthermore, the applicable canons of statutory interpretation also favored construing the term "physical custody" so that such custody does not terminate upon a brief, temporary separation from a parent; and the distinctive nature of federal pretrial juvenile detention—which encourages continued family involvement with the child during such detention—further supports the conclusion that petitioner's father retained "physical custody" over him.