B-138854 Apri 1, 1959

B-138854: Apr 1, 1959

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Who is not a citizen of the United States. The submission of a voucher will be waived in this instance. You say that this employee who was born in Germany. No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used to pay the compensation of any officer or employee of the Government of the United States (including any agency the majority of the stock of which is owned by the Government of the United States) whose post of duty is in continental United States unless such person (1) is a citizen of the United States. (2) is a person in the service of the United States on the date of enactment of this Act who. (3) is a person who owes allegiance to the United States. Or (4) is an alien from the Baltic countries lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence: Provided.

B-138854 Apri 1, 1959

Mr. Richard V. Woolridge Authorized Certifying Officer Department of Health, Education and Welfare P.O. Box 960 Anchorage, Alaska

Dear Mr. Woolridge:

Your letter of February 25, 1959, requests our decision as to the availability of appropriations of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to pay the salary of an employee in the State of Alaska, who is not a citizen of the United States.

Section 3 of the act of December 29, 1941, 31 U.S.C. 82(d), gives certifying officers the right to "apply for and obtain a decision by the Comptroller General on any question of law involved in a payment on any vouchers presented to them for certification." A request for a decision under authority of that section must be accompanied by the voucher presented to the certifying officer for certification. 21 Comp. Gen. 1128. No voucher accompanied your submission but considering the urgency of the matter regarding the certification of the employee's compensation payments, the submission of a voucher will be waived in this instance.

You say that this employee who was born in Germany, has resided in Alaska since 1910, and that although the employee never became a citizen of the United States, he filed a declaration of intention to become a United States citizen in 1925. You also say that the employee has been employed by your Department in Alaska since 1949.

Your doubt in the matter arises from the provisions of section 202 of the General Government Matters Appropriation Act, 1958, 72 Stat. 224, and Department Circular No. 989 of the U.S. Civil Service Commission regarding the employment status of noncitizens holding Federal positions in Alaska upon its admission to statehood.

Section 202 of the referred-to act provides in part, as follows:

"Unless otherwise specified and during the current fiscal year, no part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used to pay the compensation of any officer or employee of the Government of the United States (including any agency the majority of the stock of which is owned by the Government of the United States) whose post of duty is in continental United States unless such person (1) is a citizen of the United States, (2) is a person in the service of the United States on the date of enactment of this Act who, being eligible for citizenship, had filed a declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States prior to such date, (3) is a person who owes allegiance to the United States, or (4) is an alien from the Baltic countries lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence: Provided, That for the purpose of this section, an affidavit signed by any such person shall be considered prima facie evidence that the requirements of this section with respect to his status have been complied with: * * *."

There is no provision under section 202 of the act which would prohibit the payment of compensation to a noncitizen, employed either in the continental United States or the State of Alaska who, being eligible for citizenship, was in the Government service on June25, 1958, the date of enactment of the act, and who had filed a declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States prior to that date.

However, our Office has been informally advised by the Immigration and Naturalization Service that under the Immigration laws effective in 1925 when this employee first filed a declaration of intention, the original declaration became void if in event no further action was taken within seven years. We understand that such declarations are not required under the present Immigration laws, the only requirement being that a petition for citizenship be filed when the alien becomes eligible therefor. Thus, we are unable to conclude that adeclaration of intention in 1925, more than thirty years ago, is not now a nullity within the purview of Public Law 85-468. We further were informed that the Immigration and Naturalization Service can advise you of the employee's citizenship status if his name and other particulars are furnished it.

In the circumstances we are unable to render an authoritative decision on your question. However, if the employee should promptly file a petition for citizenship we would interpose no objection to the continuation of payment of his compensation.

Very truly yours,

FRANK H. WEITZEL Acting Comptroller General of the United States