Denaturalization Efforts by USCIS

The Trump administration is creating a new office within USCIS to focus on identifying immigrants who are suspected of cheating to get their green cards or citizenship and to initiate denaturalization proceedings against them. The new denaturalization office will be located in Los Angeles and will have a least a dozen attorneys on staff. In the meantime, a USCIS team already has been reviewing more than 2,500 naturalization files for possible denaturalization, and more than 100 cases have been referred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for possible action. The administration expects to review some 700,000 immigrant files.

Although previously quite rare, the government can and has stripped naturalized U.S. citizens of their citizenship through the denaturalization process, the revocation of U.S. citizenship of a naturalized immigrant. (Natural-born U.S. citizens may not have their citizenship revoked against their will, since birthright citizenship is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.) In the past, the government focused its denaturalization efforts on individuals who committed egregious crimes, including suspected war criminals who lied on their immigration paperwork (most notably former Nazis), and terrorist funders. In those cases, USCIS and the DOJ pursued cases as they arose, but not through a coordinated effort. The new office changes that paradigm.

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