Immigration Status Not “Fatal” in Name Change Application in NYC:
- In Matter of Arrieta Salas, petitioner appealed the order of the Civil Court of the City of New York, New York County, because the decision denied her application for a name change.
- Transgendered petitioner wished to change her name from Paulo Cesar Arrieta Salas to Raquel Ramirez in order to accurately reflect her female gender identity.
- On appeal, the court granted the petitioner’s application for a name change. Under section 61 of the Civil Rights Law, the petitioner for a name change must specify the grounds for the application, and the petitioner must disclose pertinent background information. Here, the petitioner properly submitted all of the required information including her address, and the record indicated that there was no evidence of fraud, misrepresentation, or interference with the rights of others.
- Additionally, a petitioner who submits a name change application does not have to provide proof of their immigration status. The appellate court stated that Civil Rights Law § 61 requires that a name change applicant provide their “residence.” The plain meaning of the statute does not require anything further. The lower court interpreted residence as legal residence. Thus, the lower court denied petitioner’s application, because she could not provide the court with proof of citizenship or lawful immigration status.
- The appellate court articulated the standard for petitioner’s residence as follows: “That the Costa Rican born petitioner was unable to provide the court with proof of citizenship or lawful immigration status was not fatal to the otherwise meritorious name change application. Civil Rights Law § 61 requires verification of a name-change applicant’s ‘residence,’ not legal residence, and considerations of citizenship and immigration status should not be lightly imported by implication into the statutory scheme where to do so would ignore the plain meaning of the statute as written.”
- Furthermore, the Court could require the petitioner to notify federal immigration authorities of the name change to avoid any confusion or risk of fraud.
Operation Underground Railroad:
- Laurie Holden, one of the stars of the television show The Walking Dead, recently participated in an undercover operation to rescue Colombian sex slaves. This operation was organized by Operation Underground Railroad (OUR), a non-profit created by Tim Ballard, a former Homeland Security agent to rescue trafficked children. Aside from Holden and Ballard, the team included volunteers ranging from a former Navy Seal to Cross-fit trainers from Utah.
- To catch the traffickers, the undercover participants said that they needed to “rent” children for a bachelor party. Holden stayed with the children while Ballard and the rest of the operatives handled the money exchange. The entire transaction was recorded and will be used by Colombian authorities to prosecute the traffickers.