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Does the new denaturalization focus jeopardize your status?

Perhaps you have been a naturalized citizen of the United States for several years and you are proud of your status as an American.

However, you worry about the increased interest the government is showing in the revocation of citizenship under certain conditions. What qualifies a person for possible denaturalization?

A little history

Through Operation Janus in 2010, which employed the use of digital fingerprint comparisons, the Department of Homeland Security began a new effort to identify people who should not have been granted naturalization. Between 1990 and 2017, the Department of Justice only filed 305 denaturalization cases. As of January 2017, the Department of Justice is looking at a minimum of 2,500 cases but numbers can be deceiving. You should understand that DOJ only received 110 referrals by August 2018. However, the current administration is doubling down on the issue and a new office under USCIS that will focus on denaturalization review is in the process of formation in Los Angeles.

Government guidelines

The federal government may only denaturalize someone for certain reasons: the individual has joined a totalitarian party, the Communist Party or a terrorist organization within 10 years of having applied for naturalization in the U.S. or within five years after becoming naturalized. The government can also revoke someone’s citizen status for hiding or misrepresenting material facts on the naturalization application. Considering that applicants can also make honest mistakes, the government must “meet a high burden of proof” in order to proceed.

Seeking help

Keep in mind that you are among more than 20 million people in the U.S. who are naturalized citizens and, therefore, the 2,500 cases that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has set aside to examine for possible denaturalization may not sound like a lot. However, if you feel that the focus on revoking your citizenship status is coming a little too close for comfort, help is at hand and you should explore your legal options.

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