Denaturalization lawsuit filed against alleged human rights abuser originally from El Salvador residing in North Texas
SHERMAN, Texas — The United States has filed a civil action against a 54-year-old Plano, Texas, man accused of unlawfully procuring his U.S. citizenship.
This action was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston, Eastern District of Texas. This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and will be litigated by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division’s Office of Immigration Litigation District Court Section.
Arnoldo Antonio Vasquez, a native of El Salvador, is alleged to have concealed and misrepresented his involvement in the extra-judicial killing of 10 civilians in San Sebastian, El Salvador, in September 1988, when he was an officer in the Salvadoran military. Vasquez was previously identified by then-Vice President Dan Quayle in a list of Salvadoran soldiers responsible for these killings. Vasquez concealed his involvement in the San Sebastian killings throughout his immigration and naturalization proceedings. Vasquez was naturalized as a U.S. citizen Jan. 13, 2005.
“The first step in protecting our borders begins with enforcing our immigration laws,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston. “Vasquez should never have been allowed in our country because of his reprehensible acts and his effort to conceal them. He certainly should not have been granted U.S. citizenship. This action to revoke his unlawfully obtained U.S. citizenship is the first step toward removing him from the United States.”
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, a naturalized U.S. citizen’s citizenship may be revoked and his certificate of naturalization canceled if the naturalization was illegally procured or procured by concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.
This litigation is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Wells and Bradley Visosky of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas and Trial Attorney Anthony D. Bianco of the Office of Immigration Litigation, District Court Section.
The claims asserted against the defendant are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.
The investigation in this case was supported by ICE’s Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC). Established in 2009 to further ICE’s efforts to identify, track and prosecute human rights abusers, the HRVWCC leverages the expertise of a select group of agents, lawyers, intelligence and research specialists, historians and analysts who direct the agency’s broader enforcement efforts against these offenders. Since 2003, ICE has arrested more than 380 individuals for human rights-related violations of the law under various criminal and/or immigration statutes. During that same period, ICE obtained deportation orders against and physically removed 785 known or suspected human rights violators from the United States. Additionally, ICE has facilitated the departure of an additional 108 such individuals from the United States. Currently, the HRVWCC is pursuing more than 1,750 leads and removals cases involving suspected human rights violators from 95 different countries. Since 2003, the HRVWCC has issued more than 70,400 lookouts for individuals from more than 110 countries and stopped 213 human rights violators and war crimes suspects from entering the U.S.
Members of the public who have information about foreign nationals suspected of engaging in human rights abuses or war crimes are urged to call the ICE tip line at 1-866-DHS-2423 (1-866-347-2423). Callers may remain anonymous. To learn more about the assistance available to victims in these cases, the public should contact ICE’s confidential victim-witness toll-free number at 1-866-872-4973.