Repeat Pedophile Sex Offender Loses Citizenship, Will Stay in Mexico

Jose Arizmendi, a 54-year-old man who had been an American citizen since 1996, lost that citizenship Tuesday after a court found he had lied on his original citizenship application.

According to the complaint brought by DOJ’s Office of Immigration Litigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas to denaturalize Arizmendi, he sexually assaulted a nine-year old girl in 1995, pleaded guilty, and was given a deferred sentence. He was placed on probation for 10 years, registered as a sex offender, and performed community service.

Arizmendi, a native of Mexico, had become a legal permanent resident in 1990 and took advantage of that to apply for citizenship when he became eligible in 1996. What he did not do is disclose his sex offense, for which he was still on probation, on his application. For reasons that remain unclear, Arizmendi’s deception was not discovered and the Immigration and Naturalization Service granted him citizenship in violation of the law.

But obtaining U.S. citizenship through fraud did not end Arizmendi’s criminal career. In 1997, he violated the terms of his probation by being in contact with a 14-year-old girl, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. It is unclear when he went back to Mexico, but it may have been to flee this warrant. In any event, by 2015, when the DOJ initated proceedings to take his citizenship, Arizmendi was serving an 18-year sentence for rape at Guerrero, Mexico’s Centro Readaptacion Social prison.

Tuesday’s judgment requires Arizmendi to surrender his naturalization certificate. The revocation of his citizenship is backdated to the date of its original fraudulent issuance. Based on his convictions and the Immigration and Nationality Act’s requirements, Arizmendi will not be allowed to re-apply to enter the United States should he ever be released from prison in Mexico.

The Arizmendi case is one of — if not the first — to make use of a Supreme Court decision handed down only last week, Maslenjak v. United States. A unanimous Court upheld laws designed to strip citizenship from those who lie in order to obtain it.


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