GREENSBORO — A Lee County resident was "judicially denaturalized" after he was convicted of statutory rape of a child, according to a news release Monday from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Ruben Rosas-Avalos, 25, also was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Loretta C. Biggs to six months in prison last week after pleading guilty to naturalization fraud on July 20, according to the release.
Born in Mexico, Rosas-Avalos was a naturalized citizen of the United States. In February 2016, the Justice Department said Rosas-Avalos fraudulently obtained U.S. citizenship by making materially false statements under oath regarding his naturalization application. In response to the question “Have you ever committed, assisted in committing, or attempted to commit, a crime or offense for which you were not arrested?” he answered, “No,” according to the release.
In March 2019, Rosas-Avalos was convicted in Lee County of statutory rape of a child and indecent liberties with a child, the Justice Department said. He was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender.
The offense of indecent liberties with a child occurred on July 27, 2015, and the statutory rape of a child occurred on Sept. 13, 2017, according to the release. The crimes involved two different children.
Rosas-Avalos was not arrested until after he naturalized, the Justice Department said, thus immigration officials were unaware of his crimes.
Agents with ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations assigned to the Document Benefit Fraud Task Force investigated the case as part of Operation False Haven. The operation is an ongoing initiative to identify and prosecute child molesters and other egregious felons who fraudulently obtained U.S. citizenship, the release said.