WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today filed denaturalization lawsuits against five individuals who, according to the Department's complaints, unlawfully procured their United States citizenship by concealing their sexual abuse of minor victims during the naturalization process.
The civil complaints were filed in federal court in the Eastern District of California, the District of Maryland, the Middle District of North Carolina, and the Southern District of Texas (two cases).
“Those who wish to become American citizens ought to respect our laws and seek citizenship lawfully and honestly,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Anyone who lies, misleads, or omits critical information in an attempt to evade the requirements for naturalization undermines the credibility of our nation's generous lawful immigration system. This Justice Department will continue to seek out fraudsters and bring them to justice by obtaining orders revoking their naturalized citizenship.
” The cases were referred to the Department of Justice by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with investigative support from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“ICE is committed to collaborating with our sister agencies within DHS to target individuals who conceal illicit activities in order to obtain U.S. citizenship,” said ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan. “When special agents identify a child predator, exploiting the most innocent among us, and other criminals who have defrauded the U.S. immigration system for naturalization benefits, then ICE will move to have their citizenship revoked.” Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, the citizenship of a naturalized U.S. citizen may be revoked, and his or her certificate of naturalization canceled, if such naturalization was illegally procured or procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.
The five defendants committed crimes of sexual abuse of minor victims prior to naturalizing. As the civil complaints allege, such crimes rendered the defendants ineligible for citizenship at the time they naturalized. By willfully concealing child sexual abuse crimes, the defendants also independently rendered themselves subject to denaturalization.
A description of each of the five cases and the allegations of the United States follows:
Ricardo De Leon Ricardo De Leon, 32, a native of Mexico, naturalized on July 23, 2010. Before De Leon naturalized as a U.S. citizen, he sexually assaulted a child under the age of 12. In July 2015, after he had naturalized, De Leon was indicted, and in March 2017 he pleaded guilty in Texas state court to committing aggravated sexual assault of a child in 2009. He was ordered to ten years of community supervision and required to register as a sex offender. He has been residing in Edinburg, Texas. United States of America v. Ricardo De Leon (S.D. Tex.).
Christian Oribello Eguilos Christian Oribello Eguilos, 40, a native of the Philippines, naturalized on Nov. 6, 2013. For several years before filing his naturalization application and throughout the naturalization process, Eguilos repeatedly committed forcible lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14. In September 2015, he pleaded nolo contendere in California state court to four counts of Forcible Lewd Act Upon a Child. Eguilos was sentenced to 40 years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender. He is incarcerated in Ione, California. United States of America v. Christian Oribello Eguilos (E.D. Cal.).
Carlos Noe Gallegos Carlos Noe Gallegos, 41, a native of Mexico, naturalized on March 10, 2010. Before Gallegos naturalized as a U.S. citizen, he sexually assaulted a seven-year-old child. In November 2016, after he had naturalized, Gallegos was indicted, and in April 2017 he pleaded guilty in Texas state court to committing aggravated sexual assault of a child in 2007. He was ordered to six years of community supervision and required to register as a sex offender. He has been residing in Alamo, Texas. United States of America v. Carlos Noe Gallegos (S.D. Tex.).
Alwin Farouk Gariba Alwin Farouk Gariba, 51, a native of Guyana, naturalized on Feb. 29, 2000. After he applied to naturalize but while he was in the naturalization process, Gariba repeatedly sexually abused a ten-year-old child. In July 2000, only months after he had naturalized, Gariba pleaded guilty in North Carolina state court to three counts of Taking Indecent Liberties with Children. He was placed on 60 months' probation and ordered to register as a sex offender. He has been residing in Greensboro, North Carolina. United States of America v. Alwin Farouk Gariba (M.D.N.C.).
Moises Javier Lopez Moises Javier Lopez, 42, a native of the Republic of Colombia, naturalized on March 22, 2013. Before filing his naturalization application and throughout the naturalization process, Lopez sexually abused a minor child. In August 2013, he pleaded guilty in Maryland state court to Sexual Abuse of a Minor. He was sentenced to 25 years' confinement, all but four suspended. He has been residing in Gaithersburg, Maryland. United States of America v. Moises Javier Lopez (D. Md.).
These cases were investigated by ICE, CBP, and the Civil Division's Office of Immigration Litigation, District Court Section (OIL-DCS). These cases are being prosecuted by OIL-DCS and its National Security and Affirmative Litigation Unit (NS/A Unit) with support from the U.S. Attorney's Offices for the Eastern District of California, the District of Maryland, the Middle District of North Carolina, and the Southern District of Texas. The claims made in the complaints are allegations only, and there have been no determinations of liability.
Component(s): Civil Division
Press Release Number: 18-226Updated February 22, 2018