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Last updateSat, 07 Dec 2019 12am







    Saturday, December 7, 2019-5:40:39P.M.






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Lawyer of overstaying tourist seeks to deny admission of DHS agents’ field notes as evidence

ATTORNEY Robert T. Torres has requested the federal court to issue an order excluding into evidence rough notes or field notes of U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigation agents in the case of an overstaying tourist.

Xinzhou Ren, who is from the People’s Republic of China, was cited by DHS for making false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the U.S. government.

Ren was granted CNMI-only conditional parole by U.S. Customs and Border Protection until May 15, 2018 and has overstayed that authorized date.

Ren told HSI agents that he would be harmed if he returned to his home country.

Torres, who represents Ren, cited the federal court rules of evidence, which state that the court may exclude relevant evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, or misleading the jury.

District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona has scheduled Ren’s trial for Jan. 14, 2020 at 10 a.m.

The federal government has accused Ren of making a false statement to a federal agency and improper entry into the U.S. by false statement.

The indictment stated that Ren, upon arriving in the CNMI on May 4, 2018, made false representations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Torres said the DHS-HIS agents’ field notes would mislead the jury into thinking that that statement relating to a May 2019 date was in fact the statements Ren made to a U.S. government officer when he arrived on Saipan.

“They are not,” the lawyer said. “To allow field notes which go nowhere to the operative date in the indictment is unduly prejudicial and should be excluded.”

According to field agents, Ren had been arrested for violation of the Immigration Naturalization Act Section 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I), “Immigrant without Documents,” and was directed to report to the HSI Saipan office on May 13, 2019.

During the administrative arrest and through a Mandarin interpreter, the U.S. government said Ren falsely stated that he feared he would be harmed if he returned to his home country, China.

Ren also said that he was on Saipan as a visitor, but he used this as an excuse because he wanted to escape China, the U.S. government added.

Ren also claimed that although he was not arrested in China, he was wanted by the police in Hebei Province in 2015.

Ren was then released from HSI custody and was scheduled for service of immigration documents at a later date.

On Nov. 1, 2019, Ren was present at the Enforcement and Removal Operations Office on Saipan and requested the return of his passport.

Ren presented an itinerary with booking information for a departure flight to China scheduled for Nov. 3, 2019.

He also provided HSI with a sworn statement indicating that on May 13, 2019, he had told the field agent that, among other things, he fled China because of a fear that he would be persecuted or harmed due to his religious affiliation.

Ren said he no longer wished to “claim asylum” and wanted to return to China.