Friday, August 17, 2018

Justice Department Secures Denaturalization of Guardian Convicted of Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Release Date: Aug. 15, 2018

RALEIGH, N.C. — On Aug. 8, Chief Judge James C. Dever III of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina entered an order that revoked the naturalized U.S. citizenship of a child sex offender; restrained and enjoined him from claiming any rights, privileges, or advantages of U.S. citizenship; and ordered him to immediately surrender and deliver his Certificate of Naturalization and any other indicia of U.S. citizenship to federal authorities.

“The Justice Department is committed to preserving the integrity of our nation’s immigration system and the propriety of the government’s adjudication of immigration benefits,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will aggressively pursue the denaturalization of individuals who lie on their naturalization applications or lie during the naturalization interview, especially in a circumstance like this one, which involved an alien who repeatedly sexually abused the minor victim on almost a daily basis.”

“Under our laws, United States citizenship is conferred on those who demonstrate honesty and integrity, who respect our laws, and who can demonstrate the moral character necessary to be a positive and cultivating member of American society,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon.  “The defendant fell short of that mark in every regard and we are satisfied that this Court saw fit to revoke his naturalized citizenship.  As part of the Justice Department’s mission to enforce the nation’s immigration laws, we will seek denaturalization in cases where individuals are dishonest and where criminal activity demonstrated the lack of moral character necessary for American citizenship.”

Prempeh Ernest Agyemang, a native of Ghana, was admitted to the United States in 1989.  Agyemang then married a United States citizen who had a young child.  When the child was in fourth grade, Agyemang began sexually abusing her starting in late 1999 or early 2000.   Notably, after the sexual abuse began, while under oath during his naturalization interview, Agyemang stated that he had never committed a crime or offense for which he had not been arrested. Relying on this answer, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted his naturalization application and Agyemang became a U.S. citizen later that year. On Nov. 5, 2003, Mr. Agyemang pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his minor stepchild on April 1, 2000.  Specifically, Agyemang pleaded guilty to sexual activity by a Substitute Parent or Custodian.

“This order sends a clear message to individuals who commit any type of sexual offense, particularly those involving children, during the naturalization process – we will investigate you and seek you out to ensure that justice is done,” said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Ronald D. Vitiello. “ICE will continue to work with our partners at the Justice Department’s Office of Immigration Litigation – District Court Section to hold individuals responsible for sexual offenses, especially those involving child victims.”

“Mr. Agyemang repeatedly sexually abused a minor child and then lied about the sexual abuse to obtain naturalization,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna. “By doing so, he threatened to undermine the hard work our officers do every day to protect the integrity of the immigration system. USCIS is glad to see him held accountable and applauds our partners at the Justice Department for helping bring him to justice.”

This case was investigated by ICE Homeland Security Investigations and the Civil Division’s Office of Immigration Litigation, District Court Section (OIL-DCS). The case was litigated by John Inkeles of OIL-DCS, with support from ICE Assistant Chief Counsel Cori White, Gaston County District Attorney Locke Bell, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

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