In June 2018, the USCIS announced the launch of a new “denaturalization task force.” This group of attorneys and immigration officials has been tasked with reviewing the cases of naturalized U.S. citizens to determine if they committed fraud to obtain their naturalized citizenship. The agency received $260 million in additional funding to support this work and it has many immigrants and immigrant rights groups worried.
Who Is At Risk?
Although the United States and USCIS, in particular, have always pursued cases as they discovered them, this is the first time there has been a coordinated effort specifically looking for instances of citizenship fraud.
The task force will be focusing on people who obtained their U.S. citizenship illegally, such as by using false information, hiding criminal activity, or entering into marriage with a U.S. citizen solely for the purposes of becoming a naturalized citizen. However, under the law, USCIS could investigate any naturalized citizen whom they believe meets the criteria for denaturalization.
Once identified by USCIS, the case would be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice, which has the authority to strip naturalized citizens of their naturalized status if prosecutors prove that they do not meet the requirements of citizenship or misrepresented themselves during their naturalization process. Denaturalization proceedings take place in civil court, although criminal charges may also be brought, if warranted.
What Happens If You Are Denaturalized?
A person who loses his or her U.S. citizenship is not automatically deported. Instead, their status reverts back to what it was before they became a citizen – usually a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR). Once the person has been formally denaturalized, removal proceedings can begin in immigration court. The proceedings are usually based on grounds of fraud or criminal activity.
Contact The Immigration Law Offices of Gail Seeram For Denaturalization Help
USCIS estimates that only “a few thousand” citizens will be denaturalized as a result of the task force’s findings, but it is still a frightening prospect for many individuals and families. Simply being subject to an investigation when you know you are innocent is very scary.
If you are concerned that you may be targeted for denaturalization, are in the process of being denaturalized, or want to become a U.S. citizen, contact The Law Offices of Gail Seeram. We can help you through the naturalization process or defend you against denaturalization attempts.
Call or text our Orlando immigration law office at 407-292-7730 to arrange a free consultation.