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The Trump Administration Has Created a DOJ Section Dedicated to the “Denaturalization” of Immigrants

Naturalization is the legal process through which a foreign born immigrant can obtain American citizenship. While you may be familiar with naturalization, you may not have heard the term “denaturalization”—at least not until very recently. Last month, President Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the creation of a brand new section dedicated solely to investigating and pursuing denaturalization cases. 

Denaturalization is the process through which an immigrant’s citizenship can be revoked. While this extraordinary option was long reserved largely for war criminals, there are worrying signs that things are changing. Here, our Los Angeles denaturalization attorney provides an overview of the Trump Administration’s new policy change and we explain why it is so alarming.  

The Trump Administration is Ramping Up Denaturalization

In September of 2018, the Trump Administration launched a denaturalization operation. While denaturalization is certainly not a new concept, it is important to emphasize how rarely it has been used in previous years. From 1990 to 2017—across the Presidential Administrations of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama—there were an average of only 11 denaturalization brought cases each year. Prior to creating the dedicated denaturalization office, the Trump Administration has already referred more than 100 cases. 

The creation of a DOJ section dedicated exclusively to handling denaturalization cases is a serious escalation by the administration. It is a clear and straightforward statement that the United States government will be putting significant resources towards stripping the citizenship of immigrants accused of misconduct—and it raises major questions regarding how far the administration might go in curtailing immigrant rights. 

Why We Should Be Alarmed By the Administration’s Denaturalization Plan

Historically speaking, the denaturalization process was aimed at former Nazis, war criminals, and people who committed outright identity fraud to get citizenship. However, the creation of a new DOJ Section and other Trump Administration actions indicate an alarming shift in priorities. There is reason to believe that the Trump Administration will try to strip citizenship from immigrants who had old removal orders or relatively minor discrepancies in their immigration paperwork. 

As explained by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), the Administration is “discarding long standing legal norms’ and undermining the sense of safety and security that naturalized immigrants feel in their own country. If you or your loved one is being investigated as part of a denaturalization case or maybe facing denaturalization in the near future, you need professional legal guidance. 

Get Help From a California Immigration Law Attorney Today

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, our top-rated Los Angeles immigration lawyer has the skills, knowledge, and tenacity to handle the full range of denaturalization cases. We will protect your rights and help you take action to work towards saving your citizenship. If you or your loved one is facing denaturalization, we can protect your rights. For a completely confidential initial case evaluation with an experienced California denaturalization attorney, please reach out to our Los Angeles office today. Call (213) 262-2000