USCIS is looking to revoke citizenship from those with naturalization ‘irregularities’


As we have all seen, the Trump administration has implemented a multifaceted approach to its goal of stopping immigration. As Slate reports, recently it has introduced a program to investigate naturalized U.S. citizens to find any cause to denaturalize them—in other words, strip them of their citizenship and potentially deport them. Francis Cissna, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will be hiring staff, including immigration officers and lawyers, to proactively seek out and “review cases of suspected fraud” or other so-called irregularities.

The task force will be looking for naturalized citizens who they suspect have cheated the system in one way or another. Director Cissna cited the example circumstance of an immigrant assuming a new identity in order to obtain legal permanent residence and eventually qualify for citizenship. Previously, denaturalization had been primarily used to find and deport Nazi affiliates and other war criminals who had changed their identity to avoid prosecution. In fact, the Department of Justice had only filed “300 civil denaturalization cases since 1990.”

Director Cissna claims the new investigation unit will likely find “a few thousand cases,” and is not focused on targeting immigrants on technicalities. However, critics are seeing this as one more move in the overall war on immigrants, and based on what we already know about the actions of immigration agencies, the fear of abuse seems justified.

Claims of prioritizing the most dangerous people are routinely countered by the news of law-abiding families being torn apart by overzealous officers. The president recently blamed Democrats for the separation of immigrant families at the border, describing the practice as “horrible.” Others in the administration deny the policy exists at all. It is curious then that the administration continues to devise new ways to separate families, including those of naturalized citizens.

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