Akpan v. Scialabba

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BENEDICT AKPAN, Plaintiff, v. L. FRANCIS CISSNA, Director, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, 1 Civil Action No. 17-0252 (DLF) GREGORY RICHARDSON, Director, Texas Service Center, and CONRAD ZARAGOZA, Field Office Director, Baltimore District Office, Defendants. MEMORANDUM OPINION In this action, Plaintiff Benedict Akpan (“Akpan”) petitions this Court to amend his certificate of naturalization or compel the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to amend the certificate. Before the Court is the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Petition. Dkt. 10. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the motion. I. BACKGROUND Akpan is a naturalized U.S. citizen who claims to have been born on October 1, 1951, in Ekpene Ukim, Nigeria, although his Nigerian passport and U.S. naturalization certificate indicate that his date of birth is October 1, 1956. Pl.’s Pet. to Amend Certificate of Naturalization 1 When filed, Akpan’s petition named Lori Scialabba as the Acting Director of USCIS. Pet. ¶ 2. Her successor, James McCament, was automatically substituted as a defendant pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(d). James McCament’s successor—L. Francis Cissna— became Director of USCIS in October 2017 and is now a defendant in this action. (“Pet.”) ¶¶ 8, 10, Dkt. 1. According to Akpan, his Nigerian passport reflects an incorrect date of birth because a family member, who is no longer alive, made a mistake when submitting Akpan’s application for a Nigerian passport. Id. ¶¶ 8–9; see also Pet. Ex. 3, Affidavit of Benedict Edet Akpan (“Aff.”) ¶¶ 5, 9. Akpan claims that he continued to assert the allegedly incorrect birthdate on his 1995 U.S. naturalization application because he thought that his application was required to have the same date of birth that was listed on his Nigerian passport. Pet. ¶ 14. Although a full discussion of the facts alleged in Akpan’s petition is not necessary to resolve this motion, some factual background is helpful to understand his claims. In 1980, Akpan applied for a non-immigrant student visa to study in the United States. Aff. ¶ 7. He also obtained—via a now-deceased family member—a Nigerian passport with an allegedly incorrect date of birth. Pet. ¶ 9; Aff. ¶ 9. According to Akpan, he provided his correct date of birth on his student visa application, and prior to his student visa interview, he alerted U.S. consular officials to the error on his Nigerian passport. Aff. ¶¶ 7–10. Akpan claims, however, that U.S. consular officials instructed him to accept a student visa with the incorrect date of birth, travel to the United States on an incorrect Nigerian passport, and fix the error when he returned to Nigeria after the expiration of his non-immigrant student visa. Id. ¶ 10. As a result, Akpan traveled to the United States on a student visa that reflected that he was 24 years old, rather than 29 years old as he now claims to have been at the time. See id. ¶¶ 2, 10. In the United States, Akpan ...

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