Man Denied U.S. Citizenship Over Tattoos?

Photo by Lucas Lenzi on Unsplash

( – In a recent 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the rights of a Los Angeles woman were not violated after her husband, who is from El Salvador, was denied U.S. citizenship because of his tattoos. 

Louis Ascencio-Cordero, whose citizenship was denied during a consular interview in his country, has now been separated from his wife, a civil rights attorney residing in Los Angeles. 

The Los Angeles Times in their report noted that the government believed that the man’s tattoos were associated with the MS-13 gang. It was also noted that their belief that he is a gang member was formulated because of his background check and interview, even though Cordero has not been convicted in the United States of any criminal activity. 

Cordero has argued that his tattoos have no gang affiliation. They include La Virgen de Guadalupe, a tribal design with a paw print, and the theater tragedy and comedy mask pair. A court-approved expert on gangs has stated that tattoos do not have a correlation to any gang. 

His wife, Sandra Munoz, has argued that the visa denial has violated her rights to marriage as well as due process. 

The 9th Circuit of Appeals had previously ruled in favor of the couple, however, that decision was appealed by the Biden administration. The administration argued that the couple was capable of living outside of the United States and thus, her right to marriage was not violated. 

On Friday, Justice Amy Coney Barrett wrote in the ruling that this denial is not implicated with the rights of U.S. citizens. The decision was supported by the conservative Justices on the bench, while the three liberal Justices dissented. 

The government has argued that it is up to the broad discretion of immigration officers to determine who should be admitted to the country. 

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