*Practice limited to federal immigration law. Licensed in NY, MA, but not in CA.

Denaturalization Is Extremely Rare; The Trump Administration May Be Changing That

On August 12th, 2018, the Los Angeles Times published an article on yet another highly disturbing immigration policy change from the Trump Administration: the creation of a new task force to review immigration cases for possible denaturalization. Through denaturalization, a naturalized American citizenship could potentially lose their citizenship and even face deportation from the United States.

According to the Los Angeles Times, USCIS has a team based in the city of Los Angeles reviewing older immigration records for possible denaturalization. Shockingly, the Los Angeles Times reports that more than 100 individual cases have already been referred to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for potential enforcement action.

Denaturalization: A Fate Previously Reserved for Serious War Criminals

Many people are not even aware of the fact that denaturalization is a thing that can occur in the United States. This is not surprising: it is incredibly rare, at least historically. In the past, the people who have been denaturalized have generally been war criminals and other dangerous people who actively concealed their identity and their past conduct to gain admission into the United States.

Consider some of the most famous recent cases. In 2011, an immigration law judge issued a removal order against Ivan Kalymon. It was discovered that Mr. Kalymon, 89 years old and living in the Detroit metro area, personally executed Jews as a Nazi police officer in the 1940s. In a 2010 case, Jadranko Gostic, a Florida resident, was denaturalized after reliable evidence was presented linking him directly to Bosnian Serb Army war crimes committed against Muslim civilians in the 1990s. These are very typical examples of pre-Trump Administration denaturalization proceedings. The common link: denaturalization has been reserved as a rare and drastic step to remove serious human rights violators.

The Trump Administration Is Broadening the Use of Denaturalization

In June, the Trump Administration officially launched a new task force staff with the mission of finding people who provided false information on their immigration applications. In a broad outline provided to the Associated Press, the Trump Administration touts the fact that it will be going after people who cheated the system. In reality, this is another attack on the stability of our immigration system.

The Administration is pushing a system where naturalized U.S. citizens may be forced to continue to worry about their status because an enforcement official may one day retroactively find a relatively minor error in their paperwork. While the Trump Administration claims that this task force will have a limited scope, the Administration has shown time and time again that it simply cannot be trusted on immigration issues. American citizenship should never be allowed to be rescinded over minor errors in paperwork. This goes against the very nature of our system.

Get Help from a Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer Now

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we pledge to provide immigrants with high-quality legal representation. If you or your family member needs immigration guidance in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, please call our law office today at (213) 262-2000 for a confidential initial consultation.