Denaturalization Operation

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) failure to comply with any eligibility requirement for naturalization is subject to revocation of naturalization. Most recently, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed civil denaturalization complaints against Baljinder Singh of New Jersey, Parvez Manzoor Khan of Florida, and Rashid Mahmood of Connecticut under Operation Janus. In January 2018, Baljinder Singh of New Jersey, whose fingerprints were missing from the centralized digital fingerprint repository, was denaturalized by the USCIS.

According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), “United States citizenship is not absolute—it may be “lost” in either of two ways: 1) Any citizen, by birth or naturalization, may choose to abandon it voluntarily; or 2) if acquired through naturalization, the government may revoke citizenship if they can prove a person obtained citizenship illegally. Expatriation is the voluntary abandonment of citizenship, while denaturalization is the revocation of naturalization and citizenship by the government.

Denaturalization applies only to people who became citizens through the naturalization process. The rationale for denaturalization is that the individual should not have been granted naturalization in the first place. Therefore, the
government may revoke citizenship if the individual illegally procured or procured citizenship by ‘concealment of a material fact or by willful misrepresentation.’ Once citizenship is lost, the person reverts back to their pre-naturalization status.

In the past, denaturalization proceedings were rare and usually brought only against alleged war criminals and in other extreme cases. However, continuing their assault on immigrants, families, and communities of color, the Trump administration has increased resources dedicated to pursuing denaturalization in an effort to strip citizenship from
naturalized citizens.”

This resource, co-created by the ACLU and Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), discusses the Trump administration’s denaturalization operation and describes the process of denaturalization, who the targets are and the number of cases as well as the historical context for these efforts.

This practice advisory, created by the ILRC briefly describes these recent efforts to increase denaturalizations, the legal grounds and process for denaturalizing a citizen, and the consequences of denaturalization.