from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Texas
WIENER, GRAVES, and HO, Circuit Judges.
E. GRAVES, JR., Circuit Judge:
a plea agreement, Defendant Roger Nepal, who was born in
Nepal but later became a naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded
guilty to and was convicted of a single count of violating 18
U.S.C. § 1425(a), which prohibits knowingly procuring
citizenship contrary to law. The factual resume accompanying
the plea agreement details how in both his Application for
Naturalization and his subsequent citizenship interview,
Nepal falsely stated that he had no children when, in fact,
he did. The factual resume also states that had immigration
officials known that Nepal had children, it would have led to
the discovery that Nepal did not properly and completely
provide financial support to his son. The district court
accepted the plea agreement, convicted Nepal of violating
Section 1425(a) and, as part of his sentence, revoked his
citizenship. Nepal appeals.
the appeal was pending, the Supreme Court announced its
decision in Maslenjak v. United States, 582 U.S. -,
137 S.Ct. 1918 (2017), in which it (1) clarified the
Government's burden of proof in a Section 1425(a)
prosecution and (2) held that qualification for citizenship,
notwithstanding any materially false statement, is a complete
defense to prosecution. Nepal contends that
Mas-lenjak effected a change in the law such that
the district court plainly erred in accepting his guilty plea
because, following Maslenjak, that plea is no longer
supported by a sufficient factual basis. He also contends
that he is entitled to invoke the newly announced defense.
contentions lack merit. We affirm.
2015, a grand jury issued a three-count indictment against
Nepal. He was charged with conspiracy to commit
fraud in connection with immigration documents, in violation
of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 & 1546(a) (Count One);
fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1546(a) (Count Two); and
unlawful procurement of naturalization, in violation of 18
U.S.C. § 1425(a) (Count Three). The statutory provision
at issue in Count Three, Section 1425(a), prohibits
"knowingly procur[ing] or attempt[ing] to procure,
contrary to law, the naturalization of any person." 18
U.S.C. § 1425(a). For present purposes, the indictment
advanced three relevant allegations. First, Nepal filed a
Form N-400 Application for Naturalization with the
then-extant Immigration and Naturalization Service in
December 2001, falsely claiming, inter alia, that he
did not have children, when in fact he had four
children-contrary to 18 U.S.C. § 1015(a), which
prohibits false statements "relating to . . .
naturalization." Second, Nepal lied in his July 2005
naturalization interview with the Bureau of Citizenship and
Immigration Services when he again denied having any
children-again contrary to 18 U.S.C. § 1015(a). And
third, the production of truthful information about
Nepal's children "would have led to the discovery of
facts relevant to the Application for Naturalization and his
statutory ineligi-bility for naturalization."
case went to trial in September 2016. After three days, Nepal
agreed to plead guilty to Count Three, and the Government
agreed to dismiss the other two counts. The parties prepared
a plea agreement. In the factual resume accompanying that
agreement, Nepal admitted that he lied by failing to list his
son, Ashwin Dahal, on his N-400 application and that he lied
during his naturalization interview by denying that he had
any children. He further admitted that "the production
of truthful information" about his son "would have
led to the discovery of facts relevant to the Application for
Naturalization and his statutory ineligibility due to lacking
the good moral character during the statutory time period for
naturalization." Specifically on that point, Nepal
admitted that "it would have led to the discovery of the
fact that he had not been properly and completely providing
financial support for Ashwin Dahal." He admitted that
this course of conduct violated Section 1425(a).
change of plea hearing, Nepal acknowledged that he understood
the factual resume's contents and that he signed the
factual resume. He did not object to the factual basis of his
plea. The district court found that Nepal was competent and
capable of entering into an informed plea, and that his plea
was knowing and voluntary. The court accepted the plea
agreement, pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure
11(c)(1)(C); convicted him of violating Section 1425(a);
sentenced him to the agreed-upon term of 366 days'
imprisonment; ordered him to pay $200, 000 restitution; and,
pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1451,  declared that "as of
today . . . [Nepal's] citizenship is revoked." Nepal
timely appealed, and we have jurisdiction. See 28
U.S.C. § 1291; 18 U.S.C. § 3742(a).
review guilty pleas for compliance with Rule 11,"
United States v. Garcia-Paulin, 627 F.3d 127, 130
(5th Cir. 2010), a rule designed to "ensure that a
guilty plea is knowing and voluntary, by laying out the steps
a trial judge must take before accepting such a plea,"
United States v. Vonn, 535 U.S. 55, 58 (2002).
"One such step is determining that a defendant's
guilty plea is supported by an adequate factual
basis." United States v. Alvarado-Casas,
715 F.3d 945, 949 (5th Cir. 2013). The district court makes
this determination by following Rule 11(b)(3), which
instructs it to "make certain that the factual
conduct admitted by the defendant is sufficient as a
matter of law to establish a violation of the
statute to which he entered his plea." United States
v. Trejo, 610 F.3d 308, 313 (5th Cir. 2010) (emphases in
original). "[N]otwithstanding an unconditional plea of
guilty, we will reverse on direct appeal where the factual
basis for the plea as shown of record fails to establish an
element of the offense of conviction." United States
v. White, 258 F.3d 374, 380 (5th Cir. 2001).
determine whether a factual basis for a plea exists, we must
compare "(1) the conduct to which the defendant admits
with (2) the elements of the offense charged in the
indictment or information." United States v.
Marek, 238 F.3d 310, 315 (5th Cir. 2001) (en banc).
"If sufficiently specific, an indictment or information
can be used as the sole source of the factual basis for a
guilty plea." United States v. Hildenbrand, 527
F.3d 466, 475 (5th Cir. 2008) (quoting United States v.
Adams, 961 F.2d 505, 509 (5th Cir. 1992)). Additionally,
"[o]n plain error review, we [may] take a wide look,
examining 'the entire record for facts
supporting [the] guilty plea'" and drawing
reasonable inferences from those facts. United States v.
Barton, 879 F.3d 595, 599 (5th Cir. 2018) (quoting
Trejo, 610 F.3d at 317).
the defendant does not object to the sufficiency of the
factual basis of his plea before the district court-instead
raising for the first time on appeal the question whether the
undisputed factual basis is sufficient as a matter of law to
sustain his plea (as Nepal does here)-our review is
restricted to plain error. United States v.
Broussard, 669 F.3d 537, 546 (5th Cir. 2012); see
also Fed. R. Crim. P. 52(b). Success on plain error
review requires a showing by the defendant that a clear and
obvious error affected his substantial rights. United
States v. Fairley, 880 F.3d 198, 206 (5th Cir. 2018). If
the defendant makes this showing, "it is well
established that courts 'should' correct a forfeited
plain error that affects substantial rights 'if the error
seriously affects the fairness, ...