Turfah v. United States Citizenship & Immigration Services, No. 16-1282 (6th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Turfah, a citizen of Lebanon, entered the U.S. in September 1995, when he was 19 years old, on a visa that allowed him to enter as an unmarried child under the age of 21 who was “accompanying or following to join” his father, the principal visa holder. Despite arriving on his own, rather than accompanying or following his father, the immigration authorities mistakenly admitted Turfah. Turfah’s father arrived in the United States less than a month later, and ultimately became a naturalized citizen. When Turfah applied for naturalization in 2012, USCIS denied his application, finding that Turfah was “not lawfully admitted” and lack of good moral character based on Turfah’s failure to accurately report and pay federal income taxes in 2010. USCIS later dismissed the moral character ground for denial. The Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment, finding Turfah ineligible for naturalization because “the word ‘accompanying’ means what it says in plain English.” A court cannot invoke its equitable powers to circumvent the requirements of the immigration laws.