United States District Court, D. Minnesota
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND ORDER OF
E. BRASEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Edgard Gallegos Garcia's
request for de novo review of the United States
Citizenship and Immigration Services' denials of his
naturalization application. For the reasons that follow, the
Court grants Edgard Gallegos Garcia's naturalization
Edgar Gallegos Garcia is a native and citizen of Mexico. (Ex.
February 2002, Garcia became a lawful permanent resident of
the United States. (Id.; Garcia Testimony, Trial
Transcript (“Tr.”) at 38:11-24.)
or about early 2013, Garcia applied for a police cadet
position with the City of Hopkins. (Ex. J-2.) The Hennepin
County Joint Community Police Partnership funded the cadet
position for the purpose of increasing diversity of the
police department. (Ex. J-7.) The minimum qualifications
required the candidate to be a United States citizen or be
lawfully residing in the United States with authorization to
work and “capable of becoming a U.S. citizen by the
expected time of appointment to a police officer
City of Hopkins completed a background check on Garcia when
it considered his application. (Ex. J-3.) The background
check does not mention his immigration status. (Id.)
May 2013, the City of Hopkins hired Garcia as a police cadet.
(Ex. J-5.) Garcia completed a Form I-9, stating he was a
lawful permanent resident and not a citizen. (Ex. J-2.) He
provided the police department with his permanent resident
After completing the cadet course, the City of Hopkins
offered Garcia a peace officer position, which is a sworn
position with standards set by the Minnesota Board of Peace
Officers Standards and Training (“POST Board”).
(Ex. J-4.) Garcia did not know that the POST Board standards
include that a peace officer in Minnesota must be a United
City of Hopkins completed an updated background check on
Garcia, which did not address or verify Garcia's
immigration status. (Ex. J-8.)
one asked Garcia to update his I-9 and the City of Hopkins
did not attempt to confirm Garcia's immigration status
before offering him the peace officer position. (Johnson
Testimony, Tr. at 20:18-25.)
Garcia likewise does not recall having a conversation with
anyone regarding his status after completing the Form I-9 and
providing a copy of his permanent residence card. (Garcia
Testimony, Tr. at 48:13-15.)
When Garcia became a full-time peace officer, his hourly wage
increased from $15.16 per hour to $26.59 per hour.
(Compare Ex. J-4 with Ex. J-5.) But to become a
peace officer, Garcia took a reduction in wages from his
previous job as a carpenter, where he earned $35-36 per hour.
(Garcia Testimony, Tr. at 56:2-9; 42:11-14.) Garcia was
willing to take this cut in pay because of his long-held
dream of becoming a police officer. (Id. at 56:6-7.)
During the relevant period, Brent Johnson was a captain in
the police department and Michael Reynolds was the chief of
police. At the time of trial, Brent Johnson was the chief of
police and Michael Reynolds was retired. (Johnson Testimony,
Tr. at 8:1-6; (Deposition of Reynolds (“Reynolds
Dep.”) at 6:9-16.)
August 2014, Garcia had a meeting with former Chief Reynolds.
Reynolds congratulated Garcia on becoming a peace officer,
and handed him a form for his POST Board certification, which
was already completed. (Garcia Testimony, Tr. at 52:22-54:1.)
Garcia signed it. (Id.; Ex. J-1.)
Prior to that meeting, Johnson had completed the POST Board
certification form (except for the signatures). He gave it to
Reynolds so Reynolds could sign it and have Garcia sign it.
(Johnson Testimony, Tr. at 22:6-23:5.)
Above the signature is an affirmation that Garcia was a
citizen of the United States. (Ex. J-1.)
Garcia signed the application without first reading it.
(Garcia Testimony, Tr. at 54:6-11; 62:17-23.) He failed to
read the form out of excitement from being offered the job
and because he relied on the Chief's explanation of the
form. (Id. at 54:6- 11.) Thus he did not realize he
was affirming anything about his immigration status.
(Id. at 62:17-19.)
Garcia is not a citizen of the United States. (Id.
State of Minnesota requires peace officers to be United
States citizens. Minn. R. 6700.700, subpart 1, A (2008).
There is no similar citizenship requirement for police
cadets. (Reynolds Dep. at 10:20-11:5.)
one at the police department realized there was an issue with
Garcia's citizenship, and Garcia never looked into the
citizenship requirement for Minnesota police officers.
(Reynolds Dep. At 21:1-3; Garcia Testimony, Tr. At 76:13-16.)
POST Board approved Garcia's application for a peace
officer license. ...