The Justice Department last month created a new section to enforce President’s policy agenda. The Departments Civil Division will now include a Denaturalization Section specifically set up to remove American citizenship from certain designated individuals – specifically, war criminals, terrorists, sex offenders, and other fraudsters. However, this move by the department indicates that they are looking for ways to accelerate the number of denaturalization cases they start.
This move has many naturalized American citizens concerned. Denaturalization has been a legal option of the DOJ for a number of years, but was used sparingly. A minimal number of cases were ever filed and even fewer resulted in American citizens losing their naturalization status.
Who may be denaturalized?
You may qualify for denaturalization if you lied on your application for naturalization. This is particularly true concerning lies about criminal acts or terroristic acts which would make you disqualified on the basis of insufficient good moral character.
Any alleged ally that can lead to denaturalization must be a lie with the purpose of concealing a material fact and it must also be a willful misrepresentation of the fact. The DOJ has to prove that the representation given would have influence whether you were permitted to gain citizenship status.
You can be put at risk for denaturalization if you have affiliation or membership with certain totalitarian organizations such as terrorist organizations are the Communist Party. This is true for membership in these organizations that occur 5 years after your naturalization or 10 years prior to your naturalization.
If your parent or spouse is denaturalized, you may also been denaturalized if you gained US citizenship through that parent’s or spouse’s denaturalization.
As of now, the DOJ is looking into 700,000 naturalized citizens, which represents a larger number of cases that have previously been pursued in the past.
Is a denaturalization case a criminal or civil case?
Denaturalization cases can involve civil or criminal fraud charges. If the DOJ wins the case against you, your status will be downgraded to a lawful permanent resident or as a green card holder. If this occurs, you may be in danger of deportation at some point, particularly if you violated that status through the commission of a crime.
Rather than fighting your case in court, you could renounce your citizenship voluntarily, but that can also result in your deportation.
However, it is important to understand that the DOJ must meet a high burden of proof in either civil or criminal case. The criminal case must meet the proof of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In a civil case, the department must meet the standard of proof of “clear, convincing, and unequivocal evidence which is not leave the issue in doubt.”
In case may be defended in various ways from proving the governments facts about your case are mistaken or that the issue was not material to you gaining citizenship.
At LaFevor & Slaughter, our Knoxville immigration attorneys are experienced at helping families and foreigners get legal entry into the United States. We understand all of the entry and visa requirements and are able to help you, as the applicant, meet these requirements successfully. To set up a free appointment with one of our immigration attorneys, give us a call today at 865.637.6258 or fill out our contact form.
Patrick Slaughter is an experienced Knoxville attorney passionate about helping families resolve legal issues including divorce, family law matters and immigration. Patrick graduated from Lincoln Memorial University – Duncan School of Law, summa cum laude and is a published author. Patrick is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association as well as the Tennessee Bar Association. Contact Patrick Slaughter at (865) 637-6258 or by filling out a case evaluation below.