Can My Citizenship Be Revoked?
September 25, 2018
To become a U.S. citizen after birth, you must apply for naturalization. Once you have obtained U.S. citizenship, you are considered a citizen just like natural-born U.S. citizens. However, under certain circumstances, your after-birth citizenship can be revoked, forcing you to undergo denaturalization and face possible deportation.
Increasing Number of Denaturalization Cases
Denaturalization is the process by which the government revokes your naturalization, leaving you as a green card holder or the status you had before the naturalization. Although it used to be a rare occurrence, recently there have been an increasing number of denaturalization cases because the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been conducting investigations into possible cases of immigration fraud; one of the circumstances that can warrant revocation of citizenship.
Whereas there were only about 300 denaturalization cases from the 1990s until now, the DHS has already sent 95 cases to the Department of Justice (DOJ) since January 2017 and has stated its intention of opening a new office in Los Angeles, where it will prosecute approximately 1,600 cases.
Grounds for Denaturalization
There are several grounds for denaturalization, including:
Willful misrepresentation or concealment of material facts: This is the most common ground for denaturalization. If you deliberately lied during the naturalization process or you were not in compliance with naturalization requirements at the time you became a citizen, your citizenship may be revoked if the misrepresentation or concealment affected the decision to grant you citizenship.
Membership in or affiliation with subversive organizations: If you are affiliated or became a member of groups such as the Nazi Party or Al Qaeda within five years of your naturalization, it is viewed as a violation of the oath of U.S. allegiance and your citizenship may be revoked. A convicted terrorist was recently the subject of denaturalization proceedings in March 2017 because it was discovered that he lied on his application regarding his intentions for moving to the U.S.
Refusal to testify: If you refuse to testify before Congress regarding your involvement in subversive organizations or acts, your citizenship may be revoked. You are required to testify to maintain your citizenship for 10 years after you are approved for naturalization.
Dishonorable discharge: If you obtained citizenship by serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and you were dishonorably discharged before serving five years, your citizenship may be revoked. Engagement in sexual harassment while on official duty may also warrant citizenship revocation.
Consequences of Denaturalization
If your citizenship is revoked, you may revert to a lawful permanent resident, also known as a green card holder, or you may be subject to immigration court proceedings, which can lead to deportation. Not only can you be deported, but your family can also be under certain circumstances, such as if your child obtained U.S. citizenship because of your citizenship, which was later revoked. Given what is at stake, it is important to seek the counsel of a qualified immigration attorney who can help explain all your options and ensure that your rights are protected.
Philadelphia Citizenship Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Protect the Rights of Naturalized Citizens
If you are involved in a denaturalization case or have any questions regarding your citizenship, contact an experienced Philadelphia citizenship lawyer at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC From our office in Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To discuss your case, call us at 215-496-0690 or contact us online.