HONOLULU (AP) — A federal appeals court overturned a Chinese national’s conviction that he committed immigration document fraud by possessing driver’s licenses he illegally obtained in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
A driver’s license isn’t considered one of the documents authorizing entry into the United States, as outlined by the law that Wei Lin was convicted of violating, according to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling issued Tuesday.
Prosecutors argued a license is included as an “other” document in the law involving “fraud and misuse of visas, permits and other documents.”
The court’s opinion states no federal statute or regulation designates a driver’s license as documents authorizing entry, employment or residence in the United States.
“The government merely notes that a driver’s license is one of the documents employers may use to help verify the employment authorization status of prospective employees, as mandated by the Immigration Reform and Control Act,” the opinion states.
In reversing the conviction, the 9th Circuit sent the case back to district court.