Marwan Ibrahim Kaddoura v. Secretary, Department of Homeland Security

Case: 17-12308 Date Filed: 04/26/2018 Page: 1 of 8 [DO NOT PUBLISH] IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE ELEVENTH CIRCUIT ________________________ No. 17-12308 Non-Argument Calendar ________________________ D.C. Docket No. 6:15-cv-01902-KRS MARWAN IBRAHIM KADDOURA, Plaintiff-Appellant, versus SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY, DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, DISTRICT DIRECTOR, CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES, TAMPA, FLORIDA, ACTING FIELD OFFICE DIRECTOR, U.S. CITIZENSHIP & IMMIGRATION SERVICES, Defendants-Appellees. ________________________ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida ________________________ (April 26, 2018) Case: 17-12308 Date Filed: 04/26/2018 Page: 2 of 8 Before WILSON, MARTIN, and JORDAN, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM: Marwan Ibrahim Kaddoura, a citizen of Lebanon, appeals the magistrate judge’s order affirming the denial of his application for naturalization by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). The district court determined Kaddoura was statutorily ineligible for naturalization due to his 1996 aggravated felony conviction for delivery of cocaine, in violation of Florida Statute § 893.13(1)(a)(1). On appeal, Kaddoura argues his conviction does not qualify as an aggravated felony. After careful review, we affirm. I. In 1991, Kaddoura became a permanent resident of the United States through his spouse. In 1996, he was arrested and charged with the unlawful delivery of cocaine in violation of Florida Statute § 893.13(1)(a)(1). The adjudication was withheld. In 2012, an immigration judge granted Kaddoura relief from removal. In February 2014, Kaddoura submitted an application for naturalization. On May 26, 2015, his application was denied. In its decision, USCIS stated that Kaddoura had not demonstrated good moral character. USCIS highlighted Kaddoura’s 1996 arrest for unlawful delivery of cocaine, which it concluded 2 Case: 17-12308 Date Filed: 04/26/2018 Page: 3 of 8 qualified as an aggravated felony conviction. Because of this conviction,1 USCIS found Kaddoura was “permanently barred from establishing good moral character,” making him ineligible for naturalization. Kaddoura requested a hearing to appeal this decision, arguing that his Florida conviction did not qualify as an aggravated felony using the modified categorical approach. USCIS affirmed its decision. Having exhausted his administrative remedies, Kaddoura sought review in district court. The district court granted USCIS’s motion for summary judgment. This appeal followed. II. We review de novo the district court’s grant of summary judgment. Mendoza v. Sec’y, Dep’t of Homeland Sec., 851 F.3d 1348, 1352 (11th Cir. 2017) (per curiam). Summary judgment is appropriate when the record evidence “shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). When the USCIS denies an application for naturalization, and the applicant seeks judicial review of that denial, that review is conducted de novo. 8 U.S.C. § 1421(c). We also review de novo whether a conviction qualifies as an 1 In the immigration context, a case in which adjudication has been withheld qualifies as a “conviction” so long as the alien entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere and some form of punishment was imposed. 8 U.S.C. ...

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