CaribWorldNews, MIAMI, FL, Weds. April 28, 2010: A 58-year-old Haitian migrant, who became a naturalized citizen of the United States, has been ordered deported.
Lionel Jean-Baptiste, who was convicted of drug trafficking after his naturalization, now must return to his homeland of Haiti. Jean-Baptise has made immigration-law history as the first naturalized American in recent times stripped of his citizenship after being convicted of a crime.
The Haitian-American restaurant owner was convicted of drug trafficking after his naturalization but U.S. immigration officials Jean-Baptise did not establish `good moral character` under U.S. immigration laws, because he had committed unlawful acts reflecting adversely upon his moral character during the statutory period.
The case marked a departure from typical denaturalization practice in which immigration authorities revoke citizenship upon learning that an applicant lied about their past generally trying to conceal a criminal record when applying for citizenship. But in Jean-Baptiste`s case, he had no criminal record when he obtained citizenship.
But federal prosecutors say Jean-Baptiste committed his unlawful acts while his naturalization application was pending even though he was convicted of those offenses after he became a naturalized citizen which still is against the law.
However, Immigration Judge Kenneth Hurewitz told Jean-Baptiste Tuesday that he may be able to stay in the U.S. if the Haitian government refuses to take him back.
Haiti`s 19-year-old constitution says Haitians who become citizens of another country are no longer Haitian citizens.