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Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Holds that Passport Stamp is Not Evidence of Lawful Reentry

In a decision dated July 9, 2010, Anderson v. Napolitano, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals considered a case where the petitioner self-deported after being charged with committing crimes involving moral turpitude. She was deported in 1994 and in 1996, reentered the United States using a Nigerian passport and her married name. When she appeared for inspection at the airport, the immigration inspector stamped her passport with an admission stamp. Years later, the Department of Homeland Security sought to reinstate the original Order of Deportation against her.

Her defense was that the stamp in the passport showed evidence of a lawful reentry. The Fifth Circuit found that simply because the immigration authorities mistakenly allowed Anderson to enter the United States with a stamp in her passport, it did not divest her of the requirement to ask for permission to reenter according to the regulations.